Mr and Mrs Transton and Western QBE Insurance Ltd
Mr GEORGE (Lismore) [5.07 p.m.]: On behalf of the constituents of the Lismore electorate I add my condolences to the Palmer family. I acknowledge and appreciate the comments made by the Minister for Local Government and endorse his comments. I have received a plea from Brett and Rebecca Transton as a result of the storm that devastated Casino on the night of 17 January. A note they forwarded to me stated:
Earlier the honourable member for Swansea mentioned an insurance problem, and this is another insurance problem, involving a young couple who insured their house in good faith. As a result of the devastation at Casino, they are left in an unenviable position. Mr and Mrs Transton contacted their insurance company, Western QBE Insurance Ltd, on the night of the storm. As requested, on 16 February they faxed the company a quote for the roof by a local builder. The company advised them that an assessor would inspect the roof. However, when the assessor arrived no-one was at home.
Hoping you can help us resolve this matter in the near future as we are finding the stress of it all a bit much, on top of what we have already being going through with our daughter.
The Tilecoat report arrived on 21 February. Originally its quote did not refer to any storm damage. I stress that Tilecoat never mentioned any repairs done because of the hail damage caused by the storm that struck Casino. Brett and Rebecca Transton were unhappy with the quote for that reason and that it would not cover the damage caused by hail. They then rang and spoke to Tilecoat and in the end, because of frustration, they had an argument with the company. As a result Tilecoat has now said that it does not want to do the job. Its quote for the job was $2,477. Following several discussions with Western QBE the Transtons then requested two additional reports from Munters and Roofshield. The Roofshield quote came in at $4,966 and the Munters' quote was also an amount far greater than the quote given by Tilecoat.
There was a lot of toing and froing between the Transtons and Western QBE and, as a result, Western QBE said that it would only pay on the original quote from Tilecoat, which I remind the House had said that it no longer wishes to do the job. The couple are left with an offer from of the insurance company of a cheque in the amount of $2,477, yet the company who gave them the quote is not prepared to do the job. The insurance company will not listen to this young couple. The next cheapest quote is from Roofshield for $4,966. That quote includes the cost of replacing 50 tiles for those that were dented, so that company has referred to the roof being damaged by hail whereas the cheaper quote from Tilecoat did not.
I have spoken to the claims officer at Western QBE, who said the offer was the best the insurance company could do. He said that the couple had an offer of a cheque, they should get the job done and all would be well. It is not acceptable for the young people to be put in that situation by a major insurance company. They have been told that if they are not happy about it they can appeal. That is not acceptable to a family who is going through a hard time because of the storm and a problem with one of their children. I ask the Minister for Community Services to make this case known to the Treasurer.
Mrs LO PO' (Penrith—Minister for Community Services, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for Women) [4.12 p.m.]: I certainly will. There is a community intolerance now to the hard-edged part of the corporate sector. We are seeing it in a range of matters. They give people at the very end of the pecking order a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Young people have to get on with their lives because they have more of their lives to live. They should be looked after. We need to intervene and ensure that everything is done to help this young couple. I will refer the matter to the Treasurer.