Australians don't have a scheme like the eminently sensible New Zealand disaster insurance scheme. We are dependent on private insurance companies and every time there is a disaster, such as our present floods, it gets messy. People don't know if they are insured or not. Insurance companies are evasive, although Queensland largest insurer, Suncorp, has promised all its customers that they will be covered. Well, what about Suncorp subsidiary insurance companies that trade under a different name?
Insurance companies use definitions like whether it was rising water or running water to decline paying out. Customers are generally unwilling to pour through the fine points of their insurance contract and they would be lucky if they understood what they were reading anyway. Like to try to pin someone down at the insurance company for a straight answer about whether something is covered? Good luck. I tried once and failed.
After the disaster politicians start making noises about the insurance companies acting decently and fairly.
Why? People forget insurance companies, banks and other commercial institutions are companies who are there to make money. That is their reason for being. They are not charities and they are not in business to irresponsibly distribute their shareholder profits.
What politicians need to do, if they won't set up a disaster insurance scheme, is simply to make sure all insurance policies have a water damage clause. Damage by water? Covered. Damage by fire? Covered. Damage by earthquake? Covered. Yes, we will all pay a bit more, but spread over every insured person, precious little.
It is called regulation. Time has proved that free rein capitalism does not work for the greater good and capital needs government regulation.