A parliamentary inquiry has heard some survivors of the 2022 floods were entitled to claim up to three times more than what they were initially offered by insurers.
The Parliamentary inquiry into insurers responses to the 2022 floods continued today, with financial counsellors presenting their experiences of providing support to flood victims. Many testified that their clients were advised by insurers to not seek out independent advice.
Laura Powell - a financial counsellor with Anglicare Victoria, said she has seen insurers use "tactics of delays, or pressure to make decisions early".
Powell told the inquiry that one client was offered $167,000 as a verbal offer with no evidence as to how they arrived at the amount. Against the wishes of the insurer, the client reached out to financial counsellors, who helped secure a $568,000 payout.
"They'd been told that to engage with a financial counsellor 'would be detrimental to your claim'," she said.
Counsellors representing victims also told the inquiry insurers did not have adequate training to recognise or navigate the needs of traumatised clients.
"If somebody's being rescued and then being offered a cash settlement within a month of their life being in danger, it's clear you're not in the right frame of mind to be making such a large financial decision when you're still reeling from that near death experience," Lylia Martion said.
The financial counsellor told the inquiry she had heard from her colleagues in the Central West, who are dealing with cases of "exponential trauma and recovery."
"One in five people in Eugowra were rescued from their roofs," she said. "It's been a really hard road for people."
The inquiry continues tomorrow.