Morwell residents struggling to have their cleaning-related insurance claims paid in the wake of the fires can breathe a sigh a relief after agreements were reached.
Local insurance broker Alan Wilson, assisted by Energy and Resources Minister Russell Northe and Latrobe City Council staff, negotiated successfully with insurance providers including the Suncorp group and RACV.
About 40 residents, who had their claims initially stalled or refused, will now be able to have their claims paid and their properties cleaned.
“I went to speak with managing directors (of insurance companies), and was able to make them realise it was an unusual situation,” Mr Wilson said.
“They’ve been tremendous to deal with. They’ve been very fair.”
However, he said one insurance company remained steadfast in its unwillingness to pay claims.
“It’s not covered in policy wording and I’m trying to negotiate with them, because we believe its an unusual situation, to pay the claims,” Mr Wilson said.
Latrobe City mayor Sharon Gibson said it was great news for those who had requested help with the clean-up.
“We know that many claims were not processed as the fire was not listed as officially ‘out’,” Cr Gibson said.
“However, Chief Fire Commissioner Craig Lapsley has confirmed that from an insurance point of view the fire can now be considered out.
“We know that RACV has started to process insurance claims and following negotiations all insurance companies, with one exception, have committed to making payments.”
Cr Gibson said during the discussions it became clear in the policy wording of the Suncorp group of insurers there was no claim for such an event.
“As a direct result of the partnership negotiations Suncorp has decided to make ex-gratia payments to help the community of Morwell,” Cr Gibson said.
“This is an excellent result and we hope that Morwell residents can now get back into contact with their insurance companies to start a claim process.”