ASIC has issued a warning to anyone affected by the current bushfire crisis who is seeking insurance assistance to be wary of “unscrupulous” so-called “service providers”.
A statement from the corporate regulator has warned consumers and small-business owners to watch out for fictitious or unscrupulous tradespeople, repairers or firms offering to assist them with their insurance claim.
According to ASIC commissioner Sean Hughes, “These unscrupulous operators typically target home owners, farmers and small businesses in the aftermath of natural disasters.”
“They may claim to be able to identify damage to your property, sometimes by way of a free inspection.”
He told bushfire victims to “be wary of anyone who asks for payment upfront and who asks you to sign a contract immediately”.
“Don’t agree to sign anything which prevents you from dealing directly with your insurer, broker, financial adviser or lawyer,” he advised.
Mr Hughes said anyone who has concerns about the conduct of such a person or firm should contact ASIC.
It is important to remain vigilant and always check the licence and ABN of tradespeople and companies, ASIC said.
It also urged consumers to contact their insurer directly if they are approached by a firm that is offering to assist with any claims.