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Royal commission to hear evidence on aerial firefighting

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Aerial firefighting will be examined when the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements resumes hearings tomorrow.

The commission, which has turned its focus to co-ordination of emergency services, is set to hear evidence from experts including National Aerial Firefighting Centre GM Richard Alder.

Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council CEO Stuart Ellis is also among those scheduled to appear.

Last week, Australian Financial Complaints Authority Lead Ombudman Insurance John Price told the royal commission there had only been 68 insurance disputes resulting from the bushfires so far.

That compares with more than 14,000 general insurance matters for all of the last financial year.

“I think that indicates to me, at this stage, that the insurance industry has performed reasonably well and proactively in dealing with these matters,” he said.

Mr Price called for more debate around standard levels of cover, given the failure of product disclosure statements in providing disclosure. He also flagged that affordability problems may become more of an issue in the future, particularly with recent events and potentially higher reinsurance costs.

The current block of hearings is scheduled to run until the end of this week.