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‘Bullying’ middlemen target bushfire victims

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Dodgy middlemen are “aggressively” targeting vulnerable bushfire victims by offering to negotiate quick payouts with insurance firms.

Dodgy middlemen are "aggressively" targeting vulnerable bushfire victims by offering to negotiate quick payouts with insurance firms, the financial complaints watchdog warns.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (ACFA) is urging people to think carefully before signing binding contracts with claims management companies.

AFCA chief operating officer Justin Untersteiner told 9News.com.au middlemen for claims management companies charged excessive fees for services that delivered little or no benefit.

"We have heard reports that claims management companies are door knocking bushfire impacted areas, cold calling people, as well as showing up at community events," he said.

"Their tactics can be quiet aggressive and AFCA warns people to not sign any binding contracts with claims management companies unless they clearly understand the likely cost implications."

While not illegal, ACFA is concerned that people are being charged excessive costs and/or a percentage of the sum recovered, when in reality the service provided is of no real benefit to them.

Generally claims management companies charge a percentage of the sum recovered.

But AFCA said people who have suffered property damage or loss should not need to hire a claims "middleman" to deal with their insurer.

"People should be cautious when approached by a claims management company. We have seen examples where consumers have been charged large sums of money for services that are usually free for people to use," Mr Untersteiner said.

People with complaints about bushfire insurance can contact the ACFA hotline on 1800 337 44 or online support hub.

Earlier this month the Insurance Council of Australia warned of insurance companies and unscrupulous tradies exploiting bushfire victims.

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Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/bushfire-victims-targeted-by-aggressive-insurance-middlemen/1a7405b8-7e2b-43a8-80a1-4af91ddaac53

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