Insurers slam Choice for spreading fear over ‘fire definitions’

ICA has slammed Choice for spreading fear among bushfire victims with accusations today major insurers AAMI, Coles, Youi and APIA have “confusing, unfair or unclear ‘fire’ definitions” in their home and contents policies, which can be relied on to deny claims.

A Choice statement said its analysis of 26 major home and contents policies found problems with 70% of the “fire” definitions in policies and major issues in 25% of policies.

ICA head of communications and media relations Campbell Fuller told MuzInk the industry was concerned Choice’s report could cause “unnecessary and unjustified fear among householders” who were already experiencing emotional, financial and physical stress following catastrophic bushfires.

“Household policies are responding appropriately to claims relating to the bushfires,” he said. “No concerns about policy wording as suggested by Choice have been raised with the ICA,” Fuller said.

“The ICA notes Choice has not been able to provide any examples of detrimental consumer outcomes nor did it provide its findings to the ICA.”

Fuller said ICA was also concerned Choice’s “ill-advised and poorly timed report” might discourage property owners from taking out insurance. “Choice should accept responsibility for those outcomes,” he said.

He urged insurance customers who had concern about policy wordings to contact their insurers.