Ombudsmen from the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) are in Townsville today to offer their service to small businesses affected by the recent Townsville floods.
AFCA’s inaugural Lead Ombudsman – Small Business, Geoff Browne GAICD and Ombudsman Michael Brett Young met with small business owners, the Townsville Chamber of Commerce and state government officials to understand the unique needs following this catastrophic event.
Mr Browne said AFCA expects insurers are responding quickly and efficiently to the needs of small business.
“Insurers will be processing many claims from small businesses who have been affected by the floods,” Mr Browne said.
“In most cases, claims will be processed fairly and efficiently. If a small business has any disputes with their insurance company that they are unable to resolve, they can contact AFCA.
“AFCA is a free one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses with complaints about financial firms, including banks, credit, insurance organisations, investments, financial advice and superannuation.”
While in Townsville, Mr Browne also let small businesses know the steps they should take if they were having financial difficulties because of the flood.
“After natural disasters like this, small businesses can sometimes find themselves facing financial difficulties,” Mr Brown said.
“The first step is to contact your bank or credit provider and explain that you are experiencing financial difficulty due to the floods.
“Most financial firms have dedicated financial hardship teams. When you call them, ask to speak to someone in this team who you can work with to reach an agreement about your accounts while you are awaiting the outcome of any insurance claims.”
If a financial firm will not agree to a reasonable request for assistance, then small businesses can contact AFCA who will work with both parties to reach an agreement.
“AFCA is here to help. If you encounter difficulties with a financial hardship application, you can contact us 1800 931 678 or at afca.org.au,” Mr Browne said.