AAMI customers thankful for fast action following devastating hail event
At the end of an already challenging year, Peter and Paula King’s Halloween celebrations were interrupted by one of Ipswich’s most devastating storms to date. Now, the family are grateful to have chosen Suncorp Group’s insurance brand AAMI as their insurance provider, as they finally see the light at the end of their reconstruction journey.
On the 31st October 2020, one of South East Queensland’s fiercest storms ripped through the suburbs of Springfield Lakes and Greenbank, leaving thousands of homes devastated.
One of those homes belonged to Peter and Paula King, who at the time of the storm were hosting a Halloween party with their children and grandchildren.
“We knew there was something in the air,” says Peter. “We were sitting around together, having fun, then all of a sudden – it hit. We didn’t know where to run or where to go. The kids were terrified.”
Peter says in their first moments of panic, they grabbed some removalist blankets in an attempt to protect their cars. When they realised their efforts offered little to no protection, they prioritised their grandchildren’s safety next to their children’s and their own.
We all huddled in the doorway, just watching the water punch through the ceiling. We were watching the ceilings collapse within 10 to 15 minutes of one another.Peter King, AAMI Insurance Customer
“What do you do? We’d never lived through anything like this before, I don’t know that too many people have.”
The couple moved over from Western Australia to Queensland more than a decade ago and say that although they’d heard of the Sunshine State’s reputation for wild weather, they never expected to experience it first-hand.
Peter says he was grateful for his wife Paula’s organisational skills, which didn’t falter amid the crisis.
“My wife was on the phone to AAMI as the ceilings were collapsing,” he says. “The woman on the phone asked what all the noise was when another ceiling collapsed!
It was only when the storm finally passed over that the family realised the magnitude of the damage.
The home was uninhabitable, with holes torn through the ceiling, exposing more than half the Kings’ home to the elements. The family described the hail as “the size of cricket balls”, lining their walkways and shattering the tiles of their kitchen.
They decided to sleep at their son’s home the first night, agreeing to make temporary accommodation plans the next day.
AAMI stepped in to help the very next morning.
Grant Beck, Suncorp Event Assessing Advisor was the first to join the Kings at their home in Springfield on Sunday, merely a day after the storm.
His role is to liaise and support customers through their claim experience with Suncorp, identify the extent of the damage and work with construction partners to rebuild the home. His first move was transferring the family to a safe environment that they could live in while the rebuild progressed.
"The home was a wreck when we first arrived," explained Grant. "We put the family up immediately and made sure they were safe before reviewing the damage in more detail."
Coming in the first day was like a warzone. You had houses with holes in the roofs and then houses with no roofs left. It’s a very extensive recovery process.Robert Murphy, RPF Group
Rob Murphy from RPF says that the re-build of the Springfield home was unlike anything he’d seen before.
“Personally, as a builder I’ve never experienced this type of disaster,” says Rob.
“Coming in the first day was like a warzone. You had houses with holes in the roofs and then houses with no roofs left. It’s a very extensive recovery process.”
Replacing the Kings’ roof was first priority for Suncorp as its restoration team approached Queensland’s wet season from December – February, with the regularly anticipated rainfall amplified by the seven-yearly weather phenomenon, La Niña.
The Kings were pleasantly surprised to see that their claim progressed quickly despite the demand for services in their area. Their Springfield Lakes home had a new roof within a matter of weeks.
Peter says that while the storm devastated his family home of 14 years, he couldn’t be happier having chosen AAMI to be their home and contents insurer.
“Dealing with AAMI has been a breeze. They’ve always got answers when we needed them. I sing their praises to everyone I come across,” he says.
“What does the commercial say? Lucky we’re with AAMI, I guess.”
The 31 October hailstorm significantly impacted parts of South East Queensland, and Suncorp’s local network of suppliers and tradies, alongside our national panel of repairers, is helping progress all claims as quickly as possible.