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Mould damage key issue as water claims rise

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Restoration company Steamatics CEO Oliver Threlfall says insurance industry costs are being increased by the way less reputable repairers are responding to internal water damage.

Pre-existing mould is sometimes being connected to a current claim and, in other cases, repairers are taking unnecessary action when there would have been no risk of a problem developing, he says.

“A lot of these service providers are just going in and dismantling kitchens, pulling up tiling and plaster walls under the mitigation banner,” he told

“They are empowered to mitigate a loss, but that doesn’t mean pulling a building apart in my view.”

Suncorp and a report from Chubb Australia last week highlighted increasing costs from internal water leaks as home designs change, there are more “plumbed-in” appliances and some piping has a shorter lifespan.

Suncorp Acting CEO Steve Johnston said in a results briefing that addressing elevated internal water claim costs is a priority for the coming year, and having loss assessors visit and assess sites quickly after an incident is crucial.

“Mould makes the challenge of repair and the average claims cost increase quite significantly,” he said. “When we do that, we take the debate and discussion about mould off the table and keep our claims costs down.”

Chubb says the average size of internal water damage claims jumped 72% to $30,361 last year, from $17,627 in 2014 as a result.