NOT HAPPY: Lismore Heights couple Ken and Barbara Gough claim GIO refuses to replace part of their hail-damaged roof. Picture:
NOT HAPPY: Lismore Heights couple Ken and Barbara Gough claim GIO refuses to replace part of their hail-damaged roof. Picture:

Battle rages on for hail victims

By Alex Easton

KEN GOUGH says he’s ready to ditch his insurer.

Mr Gough was one of the thousands of Lismore residents whose homes were damaged in last October’s hailstorm.

But so far his insurer, GIO had agreed only to replace sections of the roof and clean the remainder – which Mr Gough said would leave him with dents that would ultimately strip up to $30,000 from the value of his home.

“I won’t be insuring with them again, I can tell you,” an irate Mr Gough said yesterday.

A spokesman for GIO/Suncorp said Mr Gough’s claim was still under review and that the company had received ‘thousands’ of claims after the hailstorm, most of which had been resolved happily.

“We have done, and will continue to do, everything we reasonably can to help our customers in the region get back on their feet as quickly as possible,” he said.

And an ‘audit’ of insurance complaints by Lismore MP Thomas George suggests Mr Gough may have fared no better with another company.

Mr George’s office checked details of 35 complaints lodged with his office since the October 9 hailstorm and covering the period of the Dunoon tornado and last month’s flood.

The audit found the complaints spread across 11 insurance companies, with no one company standing out.

NRMA Insurance topped the list with seven complaints, followed by AAMI on five, and CGU, GIO and QBE getting four each. Rankings are likely to be skewed by the number of policies held by the different companies in the area.

Mr George questioned why any company would reject the hail damage claims when so many roofs had been wrecked, and also questioned the level of maintenance home owners were expected to carry out on damage.

“Most people wouldn’t even think about getting up on their roof unless it was leaking,” he said.

Mr George said he’d found the peak body for insurance companies, the Insurance Council of Australia, ‘pretty receptive’ and prepared to work to help people.



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