Last updated: 6 January 2020
AFCA has dedicated support available for individual and small businesses impacted by the ongoing 2019–20 Australian bushfires.
Information about the different stages of the financial recovery process is below:
Once you’re safe and the emergency has passed, the first step is to contact your insurance company or financial provider.
If you find yourself in a dispute with your insurer or financial provider about your claim or request for assistance AFCA can help to resolve it. We have special processes that identify and fast-track complaints from people in impacted communities, so we can assist you to resolve any complaints with your financial firm as quickly as possible.
AFCA’s role is to help you to reach an agreement with your financial firm about how to resolve a complaint you have about them. We are impartial and independent, and we can award compensation for loss you have suffered because of a financial firm’s actions. Our decisions are legally binding.
If you need to make a claim on your home and contents, travel, small business or other insurance policy, the first step is to contact your insurer to make a claim. If you run into problems during the claim process that you can’t resolve directly with them, you can contact AFCA.
If you’re having difficulty accessing your cash, have lost your credit cards or can’t make your loan repayments, contact your bank or financial service provider. They can generally provide you with help when you’re experiencing hardship.
More information on natural disasters and financial hardship can be found in this fact sheet.
If you continue to experience financial difficulty after the initial crisis has passed and after the financial firm has already provided initial assistance, you can speak to your financial firm again, or contact AFCA.
If you’ve lost your business or can’t work in your business due to disaster, or you’re a primary producer who has been impacted, you should contact your financial providers as soon as possible to let them know your situation.
Whether a financial firm can assist a small business or primary producer in financial difficulty will depend on the circumstances. However, AFCA expects that a financial firm will give any request for assistance genuine consideration.
If you’re struggling financially after this disaster, there are free financial counselling services you can contact for help. This is a free service offered by community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies.