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Cyclone Debbie flooding disputes head to FOS

The NSW Small Business Commissioner will pass bundles of disputes to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) after flooding in the state’s north prompted complaints about insurers.

Lead Ombudsman General Insurance John Price says the commissioner is compiling information from about 100 affected small businesses before delivering complaints to FOS.

“They are going to try to provide the disputes in batches by insurer, which will make it easier to expedite those matters and deal with them quickly and efficiently,” Mr Price told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

The flooding in Lismore and surrounding regions following Cyclone Debbie has again raised issues over whether damage is caused by flooding or storms.

Debbie crossed the coast on March 28, bringing torrential rain to Queensland and northern NSW. Wet weather has continued to hit parts of the region.

FOS has already received more than 40 complaints related to the cyclone.

Mr Price says the disputes concern denial of claims, delays and the scope or quality of work, but it is still early days, with some complaints about insurers emerging later in the process.

“For those claims that have been accepted, there are no doubt going to be some issues that arise going forward,” he said. “That will take a bit of time to filter through to FOS.”

Mr Price says the level of complaints is much lower than after flooding in 2011, but recent events again raise affordability and mitigation issues.

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