Bushfire-hit businesses in the Snowy Valleys are finding themselves paralysed by uncertainty, delays and denials when seeking insurance payouts.
Tumbarumba's Union Hotel licencee Martin Wilton said he faced damages of about $180,000 from losing frozen and refrigerated food and missing out on weeks of bookings during the busiest time of the year.
He said his insurer, Elders, has told him he did not have sufficient cover to pay out on his claims for lost stock and income.
"We pay about $20,000 a year for all our various insurances and we have been out of business for 14 days as the power was out in town and people were evacuated," he said.
"I found out I am not covered by insurance the other day. We had to throw out $20,000 worth of food. We are usually fully booked this time of year due to the backpackers coming in for [fruit] picking season.
"We have lost about $37,000 income per week from the accommodation side. We have had a big hit."
The Daily Advertiser contacted Elders for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.
Batlow Bakery owner Lisa Scoullar said she had been too busy reopening her business to check if she can make a claim for about $2000 worth of spoiled meat, milk and bread.
"We had to shut on December 30 and we didn't come back until Monday just gone. I haven't had a chance to make a phone call to anyone," she said.
"We have been flat out. Everyone has been back in town and hungry and happy to see us all."
Ms Scoullar said she had never anticipated a disaster on the scale of the Dunns Road bushfire when buying insurance.
"I knew areas around could be affected by fire and maybe sometimes I might not be able to get into town but I definitely didn't think I would have to shut up shop completely for that amount of time," she said.
Tumbarumba Hotel publican Greg Scanlon said he was still waiting for insurance to help while facing daily costs to keep his business running.
"The power is on but we have been recommended to stay on a generator and it's costing us $1000 a day to run it," he said.
"The insurance companies need to step up, that's for sure."
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg met with the Insurance Council of Australia last week "to see what can be done to get that money back into people's pockets as quickly as possible".
The Insurance Council has declared the 2649, 2653, 2720, 2726, 2730 postcodes south-east of Wagga as being part of the bushfire "catastrophe" that has struck across Australia over the past few months.
"The declaration gives priority to claims from affected policyholders," an insurance council statement said.