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Collision with kangaroos leaves motor claimant out of pocket

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A travelling musician whose car was damaged in a collision with kangaroos has failed in his bid to have his insurer compensate him for the losses.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) ruled Insurance Manufacturers of Australia, majority owned by IAG, made the right call to decline the claim. AFCA agrees with the insurer that the third-party fire and theft insurance policy the claimant had purchased did not cover for accidents with an animal.

The claimant had lodged the claim on the day of the accident in October last year, calling the insurer’s customer hotline where he explained to a consultant what had happened.

He was informed a few days later that the claim had been rejected because the policy applied to collisions with another vehicle but not animals.

The claimant was not satisfied with the insurer’s decision and took his dispute to AFCA, submitting that the product disclosure statement (PDS) and other documents contained “unclear wording”.

But AFCA was not persuaded, ruling the insurer had made it “quite clear” in policy wordings that cover is triggered in instances where a collision involves another vehicle.

“The policy documentation wording is reasonably clear and unambiguous,” AFCA says. “Accordingly, the insurer did fulfil its obligation to clearly inform the complainant of the policy provisions and is entitled to rely on the policy to assess its liability under the claim.

“I acknowledge the policy does not specifically refer to or exclude circumstances where a collision with an animal occurs. However, I believe it is unreasonable to expect the policy to include reference to all and any possible situations.”

The musician’s bid for non-financial loss compensation was also rejected by AFCA. He says the insurer should compensate him for “inaccurate information” provided by the staff who took his call on the day of the accident.

He claimed the “inaccurate advice” caused him distress, including loss of income as he was not able to drive his damaged Toyota Corolla to attend a music festival.

The musician did not provide any information to support his claims, and a recording of his conversation with the consultant showed he was not told that the claim would be accepted, AFCA says.

“[The consultant] was very clear that the claim had been lodged for consideration and that he would be contacted at a later stage regarding whether it would be accepted or not.

“Further, the [car] remained driveable and he was told by the consultant that he could drive it away from the scene of the accident.”

Click here for the AFCA ruling.