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1. First questionnaire issued by Maurice Blackburn

Claimants (and/or their Authorised Representative (Contact)) are required to complete the first questionnaire to confirm Contact details and Claimant details.

This step is done by all above-insurance Claimants via the online portal or via hard copy where Claimants do not have access to the internet.


2. Second questionnaire issued by Maurice Blackburn 

Claimants are then required to complete a second questionnaire. The second questionnaire:

(a) Determines claim type (residential or commercial);

(b) Seeks the necessary inputs to calculate the flood adjustment factor;

(c) In most instances provides Claimants instantaneously with a notice of flood adjustment factor and an online option to accept or seek a review of the flood adjustment factor;

(d) For eligible Claimants, asks whether Claimants would like to elect to pursue a Fast Track Assessment; and

(e) Where appropriate, when losses at a residential address are shared between multiple registered Claimants, seeks instructions about how compensation should be shared between those Claimants.  

This step is done by most above-insurance Claimants via the online portal. 


3. Calculation of flood adjustment factor and provision of notice 

The flood adjustment factor is the calculation used to determine the damage that would have likely occurred if the dams were operated differently. Under the Settlement Scheme (the Scheme), losses must be adjusted by this factor to ensure compensation is only being claimed for the damage caused by the operation of the dams.

In most instances, the flood adjustment factor is calculated and conveyed automatically during the second online questionnaire phase, however, there are some instances where this cannot be done, for example:

(a) In the hard copy process;

(b) For claims registered by Funded Insurers;

(c) For claims previously assessed by loss assessors for mediation or as part of the Court ordered Reference Process;

(d) For claims where the flood adjustment factor is unable to be calculated via the online questionnaire due to unusual or erroneous inputs or where the flood adjustment factor is calculated as ‘0’;

(e) For ‘special category’ claims under the Scheme.

In these instances, the flood adjustment factor is calculated manually using inputs that have been provided by the Contact either through the second online questionnaire, the hard copy process or via telephone and/or determined in accordance with cl 6.15 of the Scheme.

Once the calculation is complete, a notice of flood adjustment factor is drafted and issued to the Claimant, together with a process for accepting or seeking a review of the calculated flood adjustment factor. Except in the instances outlined above, this is done automatically via the online portal.

In circumstances where the Claimant has sought a review, a manual review occurs and a Notice of Outcome including a statement of reasons is drafted and issued to the Claimant. 


4. Final internal analysis and review prior to allocation to an Assessor 

All claims are subject to analysis by Maurice Blackburn prior to being allocated to an Assessor. Several checks are performed, including but not limited to:

(a) Ensuring all information has been provided and submitted correctly through the questionnaire processes;

(b) Confirming the flood adjustment factor is greater than 0;

(c) Analysing the claim group (the loss location and claims) and the nature of claims at the loss location to determine which Assessor is appropriate to allocate the claim to for assessment;

(d) Checking whether the Contact is responsible for other claims and if the Claimants has other claims; and

(e) Data analysis and review to ensure a complete data set is sent to the Assessor. 


5. Allocation of claims to an Assessor for loss assessment 

Once the processes described above and all relevant review rights have been exercised and determined and/or expired, the claim is allocated to an Assessor for assessment.

There are five types of assessment that may be undertaken depending on the claim type:

Above-insurance assessments

(a) Fast Track Assessment;
(b) Residential (standard) assessment;
(c) Commercial assessment;

Insurer assessments

(d) Funded Insurer (residential assessment); and
(e) Funded Insurer (commercial assessment).

There are currently two external Assessors retained to undertake above-insurance assessments, Sedgwick and Hall & Willcox.


6. Issuing of Notices of Assessment and Review Process 

Depending on the claim type, the issuing of Notices of Assessment is as follows:

Fast Track Assessment

The Fast Track Assessment option allows eligible Claimants to bypass much of the standard loss assessment process and receive interim payments sooner. This form of assessment involves only assessing building losses (for landlords and owner-occupiers) or contents losses (for tenants) and applying the court-approved multiplier to the assessed amount to arrive at an overall assessment of the losses sustained at the loss location.

Once the Assessor has completed the assessment, a Final Notice of Assessment (FNOA) is issued to the Contact from Maurice Blackburn. The FNOA includes a range of the estimated compensation payable for the assessed losses, a statement of reasons which explains the basis upon which the losses have been assessed and a notice which sets out formal review rights.

If a request for review is received with the 28-day timeframe, Claimants may be required to pay a bond and must provide written reasons identifying the parts of the assessment which are disputed. A Review Assessor is appointed to review the claim and their decision is final and binding.  

If no request for review is received or if the Contact accepts the assessment set out in the FNOA, then the assessment becomes final and binding.

Residential (standard) assessment and Commercial assessment

Once the Assessor has completed the assessment, the Assessor issues the Contact with a Provisional Notice of Assessment (PNOA). The PNOA includes a range of the estimated compensation payable for the assessed losses, a statement of reasons which explains the basis upon which the losses have been assessed and a notice which sets out informal review rights.

If the Claimant considers that there are errors or omissions in the PNOA, they have 28 days to request an informal review and provide written reasons and supporting documentation.

If a request for review is received, the information provided by the Claimant is considered by the Assessor and further steps may be taken by the Assessor as considered necessary to investigate the alleged errors or omissions before issuing an FNOA.

If no request for review is received, the PNOA is re-issued as an FNOA. The FNOA process is the same as detailed above.  


7. Collection of bank details 

Once a Claimant accepts an FNOA or a Notice of Outcome is issued or the 28-day review timeframe expires, the FNOA becomes final and binding.  At this point, Maurice Blackburn requests bank details to enable payments to be made.

An online bank portal has been established to provide a secure payment facility via the client portal which will be used for both interim payments and final payments. The online bank portal:

(a) Verifies the identity of the Contact who is providing the Claimant’s bank details; and

(b) Collects the Claimant’s bank details, including a copy of the Claimant’s bank statement to ensure the payment will be made to the Claimant.

Once the above information is received, before any payments can be made, Maurice Blackburn reviews the information provided by the Contact, including:

(a) Ensuring the identification documents provided are those of the Contact;

(b) To the extent possible, auditing the bank details to ensure the correct information has been provided; and

(c) Manually reviewing the bank statement to ensure the bank account details that have been provided match those on the bank statement and that they are those of the Claimant. 


8. Payments 

Interim payments

Once the collection of bank details process is complete, Maurice Blackburn is able to process interim payments to Claimants. Interim payments are paid in tranches and will continue to be made progressively until all claims are assessed.

Final payments

Final payments cannot be made to Claimants until all claims have been assessed and the final distribution amounts to each Claimant can be determined. It is anticipated that final payments will be paid in late 2022 or early 2023. 

 

It is important to note that we have sought to automate the settlement administration and assessment processes as far as possible to limit costs and save time, however, there are a number of categories of claims for which the automated online processes are not appropriate and manual intervention is required to advance claims to the assessment stage. Manual intervention may happen at any stage of the settlement administration process, meaning that for some claims there is a mix of online processes and manual processes being used.

The categories of claims include, but are not limited to:

  • Claims where Claimants do not have access to the internet, who therefore require hardcopy processes to participate;
  • Claims previously assessed by loss assessors for mediation or as part of the Court ordered reference process;
  • Claims of the plaintiff and sample group members which were quantified by the Court and which under the Settlement Scheme do not need to be assessed again;
  • Claims where there are multiple Claimants making claims in respect of losses suffered at the same loss location and where potential issues of claim overlap may arise;
  • Claims made by Claimants who fail to comply with their obligations under the Settlement Scheme, including non-responsive Claimants who have either not started the first questionnaire, or become non-responsive at some stage;
  • Claims where the Claimant has requested to withdraw the claim as they no longer wish to participate in the settlement administration;
  • Claims that do not meet the eligibility criteria in accordance with the Settlement Scheme; and
  • Complex claims that do not suit some parts of the automated processes, including estate claims, claims that have been orphaned and no longer have a Contact assigned to the claim, claims with multiple complexities, claims where the nature of losses is unclear and claims where the companies are now deregistered or dissolved.

We have team members assigned to each of the categories of claims and we are working through them to progress each claim. However, due to the complexities involved, these claims take time to resolve. If your claim falls into one of the above categories, we will contact you as and when we need you to do something to progress your claim.

For more information, email us at queenslandflood@mauriceblackburn.com.au or call us on 1800 713 864

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