The West

Insurers slow to repair storm damage
Dianella resident Ben Gillett in the yard of a neighbour waiting for repairs. Picture: Bill Hatto/The West Australian

Two months after a devastating mini tornado ripped through parts of Dianella, residents are still waiting for vital repairs to their storm-damaged homes.

A short drive through the streets worst-hit by the freak storm reveals many houses sitting dark and empty with tarpaulins stretched across their roofs.

On Valentine Avenue, where trees were uprooted, metal fencing torn down and roofs ripped off, Naomi Gillett lives with a 1.5m crack in her bedroom wall.

Her pergola and fencing were destroyed and there is extensive water damage to the ceiling in one of her smaller rooms. Water is seeping through in the stairwell ceiling.

Ms Gillett, whose insurer authorised repairs last week, considers herself lucky compared with her neighbour who has a huge hole in her roof, created by flying debris in wind gusts of 125km/h at the height of the storm.

A Wesfarmers spokeswoman said Ms Gillett's claim was complex and required assessments by engineers and builders.

"We are satisfied with our claims process, given the complexity of the matter," she said.

"We authorised repairs within four days of the assessor's and engineering reports and believe we have responded effectively."

Veronica Carr is still waiting for damage to her roof to be fixed. Sandbags secure tiles and keep out the worst of the weather.

Fitzroy Street resident Aaron Stedman, who organised his repairs directly, without insurance, said he lived for three weeks with a single extension cord running over his neighbour's fence powering one appliance at a time.

RAC spokeswoman Rosalind Lane said last week: "Events such as the three June storms can stretch the capacities of the insurance and repair industries, which can therefore impact repair times."

She said the RAC had completed about 60 per cent of nearly 11,000 claims from the three storms on June 6, 10 and 12.

Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Chris Sealey said there had been an unprecedented number of natural disasters.

The West Australian

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