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Wombats and overflowing gutters 'not covered'

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A man who disputed a claim denial after his home was damaged by wombats and overflowing gutters has lost his case.

The complainant says a combination of the animals digging under the floor and rain deluges caused subsidence at his property.

But QBE denied his insurance claim, relying on exclusions within the policy documentation, and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) backed the insurer.

The complainant says his rain gutters are regulation standard and often cleaned, but an expert investigator confirmed that the drainage system was inadequate, and rainfall run-off over a prolonged period of time had caused the problems.

AFCA says the policy is clear that loss or damage resulting from structural defects or faulty workmanship is excluded, as is gradual deterioration.

There is an exception to the exclusion for defects if the insured could not have reasonably known about them, but AFCA points out that the complainant “was aware that water was flowing out of the gutters”.

AFCA says it is “satisfied that from the expert reports, that the loss arose because of the structural defects and faulty workmanship and was gradual in nature as the loss occurred over a long period of time”.

“The result is that the insurer is entitled to rely upon these exclusions to deny the complainant’s claim.”

The determination did not include any further information about the damage allegedly caused by wombats.

Click here to read the determination in full.