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Residents affected by flooding in 2022 still waiting on claims and repairs

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Two years on, some Queenslanders devastated by floods are still waiting on their insurance claims to be fulfilled.

Residents have been left in temporary accommodation with no answers from insurance companies as their homes only become more unliveable, a federal parliamentary inquiry into insurer responses to the floods has been told.

The inquiry this week took evidence from the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay councils about the future impacts of flood disasters on rapidly growing populations.

More than 12,000 people a year are moving to the Moreton Bay region and a number of those will be buying property on flood plains.

With climate change, the flood risk profile is changing.

“We are seeing some situations where people are purchasing properties and two years later, it’s inundated,” Moreton Bay chief executive Scott Waters said.

Mr Waters said the real estate industry should be responsible for warning incoming buyers.

“It’s got to go beyond buyer beware. I think potentially there is something that needs to be done when houses are purchased and sold,” he said.

The inquiry was told there were going to be numerous homes on flood plains that would have to undergo mitigation works to withstand future disasters.

Retrofitting, raising, buybacks and levies were cited as some of the ways councils and government were working to improve legacy homes for growing populations.

Flooding in Gympie in February 2022. Picture: Chad Hooper/Facebook

For new developments, gold standard infrastructure would be required to withstand the worst flooding events.

But even then, many owners would not be able to afford insurance due to the high cost of premiums.

Ken Olsson’s Narangba home flooded in 2022 but his family faces two battles – his son’s brain tumour and waiting years for insurance to cover repairs.

Mr Olsson’s house is infested with black mould and his immunocompromised son cannot live there while trying to complete his final year of school.

“It’s very distressing,” he told the inquiry on Tuesday.

Mr Olsson has been presented an option to settle with his insurance company but that may not cover the nearly $500,000 damage bill – set to continue growing.

“If I accept their offer, I cannot claim any further damage, cannot claim medical damage for my family,” he said.

Karl McKeever’s Mount Glorious home was inundated after more than 1640mm of rain in three days in 2022.

Mr McKeever, who suffers from an acquired brain injury, claimed the initial damage did not destroy his home but the lengthy wait for repair works has decimated it.

His home is day-by-day becoming more filled with black mould and the damage bill is escalating.

He has also been approached about a cash settlement but only if he entered the toxic home to catalogue the damage.

“We found the way the offer was presented to be predatory and it was likened to dangling a carrot,” he told the inquiry.

The parliamentary inquiry was in Caboolture on Tuesday, with further hearings in Logan on Wednesday and Lismore on Thursday.

The committee will finalise its report in September.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.auYou must include your name and suburb.

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