Three single women aged between 60 and 80 lived in a unit complex that was inundated by water during the 2019 monsoonal trough. Each woman approached the Townsville Community Law Flood Legal Assistance Service separately.
None of these clients knew that their Body Corporate Committee had not insured the strata title for a flood to common areas (including walls). None of these women had ever seen a copy of their strata title insurance policy or been given the option to insure for a flood.
The women received a hydrology report that concluded that the source of inundation was flood water and not storm. One of the women requested a second hydrology report and was told that the second hydrology report confirmed the source of inundation was a flood. The claim was denied.
The women were not involved in arranging their body corporate insurance policies for strata title common areas and did not recall ever seeing the policy. They were unaware they were not covered for flood and received a decision rejecting their claims six months or more after the flood.
They were left in a position where they could not return to their homes and had to live with friends, family or in other paid accommodation. One of the women took out a personal loan to pay for repairs so that she could move back home.
The women found out that they were not the insured party for damage to strata title units – the body corporate committee was the insured party. This means that a lot of communication between the insurer, the insurance broker and the body corporate manager was not directly provided to them and this led them feeling overwhelmed and powerlessness.
Throughout the process, Townsville Community Law Flood Legal Assistance Service helped the women increase their knowledge of their rights and responsibilities and helped them confidence that their legal issues will be properly heard and decided. The women said this helped increase their knowledge of the legal assistance services available and where to seek legal assistance at each stage.