Lismore flood
Lismore, Northern NSW (AAP Image/Jason O'Brien)

You’ve seen the stories, business or home owners still waiting for their promised payout, a fair payout, or any agreed payout from their scurrilous insurance company.

But are these complaints indicative of widespread difficulties Australians are having getting insurance companies to pay up? Or are they one-off tragic tales that, while certainly deserving of sympathy, tell us nothing about how many people are similarly affected and what broader social, political and/or legal changes are needed?

In the old days, the conclusion to draw from such stories was clear. Why? Because journalists would only write them based on well-researched reports into a widespread problem, which the media would then help to illustrate with one person’s story.