Girl looking for storm payout at termite-riddled cabin loses dispute – Day by day – Insurance coverage Information


A woman who claims a branch fell on the roof of her cabin during a storm blocked the gutter and spilled water into the house. She lost an argument with QBE after a long term termite infestation was discovered.

The woman, who had landlord insurance with QBE, owned a portable cabin on her property that was rented out. The house was in a shabby condition with significant wood damage related to invasive termite activity, including in the ceiling areas.

In January last year, she filed a storm damage claim, which she accused of a branch falling on the roof.

QBE organized an inspection of the house and declined the claim. Several experts found the property was in disrepair before the storm. One of the cases in which a collapsed plasterboard ceiling was found was due to the consistently prevalent termite damage.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) found the home was unable to withstand the storm conditions due to termite damage and upheld QBE’s decision to deny the claim.

“The effective cause of the loss was the termite infestation, which weakened the building structure and meant it failed during the storm,” said AFCA.

“Without a clear cause or event, no water would get into a properly secured structure. In this case I accept that this cause was the condition of the property impaired by termite damage.

“Since damage caused directly or indirectly by insects is excluded under the provisions of the directive, I am convinced that it is fair that QBE is not responsible for the damage.”

QBE’s application of the policy – which excluded losses caused directly or indirectly by bugs or insects – was fair in the circumstances, AFCA said, and no compensation was adequate.

“The insurer has generally treated the matter fairly and examined and rejected the claim in good time,” said the ruling.

AFCA said there was “enough evidence” that the condition of the home before the storm was the primary cause of the loss and that the reason for the water ingress was the existing damage to the home caused by termites, which were naturally extensive and left behind it is prone to water infiltration.

The sizable termite damage left the house structurally fragile, AFCA said, and the effects of a severe storm was enough to cause water to seep into the property.

The woman said the presence of termite damage did not make the roof unable to stop water and provided a photo of a branch on the roof.

“I accept that should be the case, but the termite damage in this case was great. I am pleased that it was the termite damage that allowed water to enter the house, ”said the AFCA ombudsman.

“I don’t think the storm was the cause of this damage, just the last straw that allowed water to enter. The extent of long-term termite damage to the house meant that it was structurally deficient and could no longer keep water out. “

See the verdict here.