Brought to you by:

Man kicked out of home by police loses claim dispute

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google

The owner of a 2007 Mercedes Benz van who was removed from his home by police will not have his insurance claim processed until he submits further information, after the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) ruled against him.

The van owner lodged a claim for his missing vehicle on February 1 this year. He disputed Suncorp’s conduct during the claims process and said he provided enough evidence for the insurer to cover the claim.

The insurer said the man provided insufficient information, and that it could not determine if its comprehensive motor vehicle policy covered the event.

AFCA sided with Suncorp, saying the claimant did not provide relevant details and the insurer was not required to pay the claim or compensation.

The man lost possession of his vehicle from July 30 2019, after he was forcibly removed from his home by the police. He could not re-enter his home and retrieve the van because his wife obtained an intervention order against him that prohibited him from going within 300 metres of the property.

The man said the vehicle was removed from the property some time after the incident. He had been unaware of its location but did not say it had been stolen.

AFCA refuted the complainant’s stance that, given he was still paying the policy’s premium, it was the insurer’s responsibility to locate and return the vehicle to him.

As the claim was being processed, the claimant learned that the local council had taken his van. The council reportedly informed the complainant that it attempted to contact him but could not, and the vehicle was later disposed of.

Suncorp requested more information from the complainant regarding the vehicle, including registration, proof of ownership, and other financial documents, before it could decide whether to cover the claim. It also asked for relevant legal documentation for the intervention order and details of the police report.

AFCA said the insurer’s actions were not unfair or unreasonable because the information it asked for was pertinent to determine if the policy covered the event.

The ruling said that once the man provided the documents and materials requested by Suncorp, the insurer should inform him of its decision within 14 days.

The claimant complained about the insurer’s conduct throughout the claims process, saying the insurer’s constant attempts to contact him and failure to answer his calls caused stress.

AFCA said while the man was distressed regarding the event, it was not the insurer’s fault for the standard procedure it undertook in its investigation.

It said that there was no doubt both parties had difficulties contacting each other and that it was understandable that the complainant was frustrated by the claims process.

But AFCA said that delays in the procedure were not solely on the insurer, saying the nature of the event warranted investigation.

The ruling did not require Suncorp to pay any compensation to the complainant. AFCA said that while the insurer could have improved its attempts to contact the man, it was not satisfied that the insurer caused unusual stress or inconvenience.

Click here to read the full ruling.