Three years of squalor as family wait for flood payout

DESPERATE: Kevin Dawber of Coolana with his daughters Gypsy (left), 15, and Holly,18, are still waiting for insurance payouts following the 2011 floods.
DESPERATE: Kevin Dawber of Coolana with his daughters Gypsy (left), 15, and Holly,18, are still waiting for insurance payouts following the 2011 floods. David Nielsen

KEVIN Dawber and his family are 2011 flood victims who have been living for three years with no drinking water and without a working toilet as their home crumbles around them.

Mr Dawber lives at Coolana, near Minden, and has a wife and five children. He said he was "still owed close to $120,000 from NRMA Insurance for the house and most of the contents" after an ongoing battle that is now in the hands of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

He blames NRMA Insurance for his predicament as he does not have the funds to do the work on his house that is required

"We survived the flood, but not the insurance circus," he said.

His 18-year-old daughter Holly has a brain tumour and her medical expenses are mounting, while Mr Dawber lost his bobcat business in the floods after the truck that he uses for work was destroyed. Mr Dawber is selling valuable comics from his $26,000 Phantom comic collection to service the mounting medical bills and to make ends meet.

Mr Dawber showed The QT a broken beam under the house that he says is one reason why his house is sinking into the ground, with the stumps struggling to support the weight. That is also affecting the interior structure of his home where gaps have appeared between the wall and the ceiling.

"We have been living like scum," Mr Dawber said.

"We don't have a working toilet. We have to buy water.

"We are on tank water only, but inside the tank was contaminated with herbicides, pesticides and raw sewerage because it was underwater for two weeks.

"We can't drink it. It would make you sick. We don't have a septic system. All our sewerage is above ground, not below ground like it is supposed to be. There is a lot of stress here.

"All my money goes towards my daughter's hospital bills. I've got 2000 Phantom comics and I have been selling them to feed my family."

He called on NRMA Insurance to "pay up and do the right thing".

An NRMA Insurance spokesperson said "NRMA Insurance has conducted an extensive review of Mr Dawber's current claim, including an evaluation of the damage to Mr Dawber's property, his account of events and a physical assessment of the property".

"There have also been numerous written and telephone exchanges with Mr Dawber and his solicitor to obtain the necessary information...NRMA Insurance has made payments for several claims in line with Mr Dawber's policy coverage."

Topics:  2011 floods editors picks flood insurance nrma insurance

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