Cyclone Debbie claim called a 'shambles'
Eighteen months after the devastation wrought by Cyclone Debbie, Queensland couple Glenn and Julie Sutton still have no idea when they will be able to go home.
Work is yet to start on repairing their badly-damaged home near Airlie Beach.
Mr Sutton said the couple's insurance claim through Youi has been mishandled from the beginning.
"It's an absolute shambles," he told the banking royal commission on Wednesday.
"You know, you take out insurance hoping that it never happens but if it does, you want them to have your back, you want to know they're going to look after you and it just didn't happen."
Fourteen people died and about 2300 homes were damaged in March 2017 by the second most expensive cyclone in Australia's history, behind Cyclone Tracy.
The total losses reached almost $1.8 billion, with 75,000 insurance claims lodged.
The Suttons could no longer live in their two-storey home after it was extensively damaged by the cyclone, which ripped off part of the roof.
The hole in the roof was not properly covered for long periods over the past 18 months, with mould growing after the property continued to be inundated with water when it rained.
The inquiry heard that after one of Mr Sutton's complaints, Youi's loss assessor said the delays were not all the insurer's fault.
"The insured has a habit of over-dramatising everything and creating an environment where you feel obligated to just approve it so we can move forward," an internal email in October 2017 said.
"It's a common trait amongst people trying to get more than what their coverage allows."
Mr Sutton said he and his wife were made to justify everything to Youi.
"To be honest, we felt very bullied and very intimidated."
The Suttons also felt abandoned by Youi, a company which promises its customers awesome service and that it will go the extra mile.
Youi's chief operating officer of claims services Jason Storey said the way the claim was handled was not acceptable and the Suttons definitely did not receive awesome service.
Mr Storey, who said Cyclone Debbie was the most significant catastrophe Youi had dealt with, and said the insurer accepted responsibility for the extended delays in dealing with the Suttons' claim.
There is no timeframe for when the Suttons, who are in their fourth rental property, can move home.
Mr Sutton said there were a lot of people going through the same thing.
"We are just the tip of the iceberg.
"There needs to be some accountability so that people don't have to go through this.
"It's just not right."
The royal commission also heard an insurer asked an eight-year-old boy to make a list of all the toys he lost when a bushfire destroyed his family home.
People who lost everything in the Blue Mountains bushfires in 2013 were asked to make a detailed list of all the contents they had lost.
It was retraumatising for them and likely to result in an under-estimation of their loss, Legal Aid NSW said.
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