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31 Oct 2017

Insolvency building insurance and the message on the roof


3 min

The flood and a leaky roof.

Earlier this year, we were appointed voluntary administrators to a company that owned and operated a community club house on the river in North Queensland. As the business was not operating we secured the building and obtained specialist insolvency insurance over the building.

While we were in the process of selling the property, the region was hit with a series of heavy downpours; however, nothing that forebode the building may sustain damage, until we received a call from the local council. They warned us that there was a flood was due to hit in a weeks’ time and recommended we make arrangements to protect the property, which was located within a few hundred meters from a large river system. While the initial predictions didn’t suggest the flood would reach the building—the prediction levels were changing daily! The atmosphere in our office became quite tense, as the flood advice webpage for the area became a permanent fixture on our computers, along with continual calls from local staff telling us the waters were rising at an alarming rate.  The mood intensified when the former directors told stories of previous floods that had bubbled up through drains into the building.

At this point, sandbagging the building seemed prudent.

As it was a community club house, we sought the local council’s and SES’s assistance who were already at full capacity sandbagging homes expected to flood. Given this state of demand, we had no option other than to engage a local ‘disaster recovery business’ at a rather high premium. Upon accessing the building, which had been vacant since our appointment, it was found that the building had already sustained some water damage during the earlier downpours in obscure parts (not regularly accessed) of the building.

Now, not only did we have to notify the insurer of the potential flooding, but that the ceiling might collapse too.

At the flood’s peak, it almost reached our sandbags—some few hundred meters from the river, but did not cause any further damage to the property. Fortunately, for the benefit of creditors, we obtained disaster relief funding that offset a significant portion of the sandbagging costs incurred. This funding was available through the Sport and Recreation Disaster Recovery Program’s via the Department of National Parks, Sports and Racing.

Due to floods, arranging an assessor was difficult and yet the assessor's inspection report was received quickly. We think the accessors job was made quite easy given the one image that featured front and centre of the report.

Censored version of photo


Unbeknown to us repair work undertaken prior to our appointment was unsatisfactory and a tradesperson had made their opinion known in a direct and let’s say ‘non-traditional’ manner. Suffice to say upon discovery by the assessor our insurance claim for water damage from the downpours was ruled out due to substandard repair works to the building.

Sometimes you never know what mother nature will throw your way or what Easter eggs you might uncover when taking over a company’s operations. If we had been alerted to the existing building issues, we may have mitigated any potential damage caused by severe weather.

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