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Burglary claim denied after claims history not disclosed

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A woman whose home was broken into had her insurance claim declined because she failed to disclose her claims history and partner’s criminal past.

The claimant took the case to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), but it backed insurer Auto & General.

The woman’s property was targeted by burglars on July 1 last year, and she filed a claim a week later.

But the insurer knocked it back after finding at least five previous insurance claims that had not been disclosed when the policy was purchased.

Her partner also had “significant criminal history” and this was also not disclosed.

The woman bought the insurance online and was asked specific questions about whether she had made any home and contents claims over the past five years, and whether any “household member” had ever been convicted of a criminal offence.

Despite “available information” showing she answered “no” to these questions, she told AFCA she didn’t know she had to disclose the information, that her partner did not reside with her permanently and she was not aware of all his convictions.

But AFCA says the insured was clearly informed of her duty of disclosure, and that Auto & General’s underwriting guidelines would have prevented the policy being issued had the woman disclosed the relevant details.

“Accordingly, the insurer is entitled to cancel the policy and reduce its liability to nil subject to refunding to the complainant all policy premium payments it had received from the complainant over the relevant time,” AFCA says.

Click here to read the full ruling.