In­surance stale­mate

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr and Peter De Krui­jff

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has been ac­cused of drag­ging its feet on rec­om­men­da­tions de­signed to ease the bur­den of in­surance in north­ern Aus­tralia.

A re­port from the North­ern Aus­tralia In­surance Premi­ums Task­force was fi­nalised in Novem­ber 2015.

Rec­om­men­da­tions in­cluded im­proved mit­i­ga­tion through education and re­search, greater recog­ni­tion of mit­i­ga­tion from the in­surance in­dus­try, in­creased scope for pol­i­cy­hold­ers to as­sume more re­spon­si­bil­ity of risk, sub­sidised mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures for low-in­come house­holds and in­tro­duc­tion of a gov­ern­ment­backed rein­sur­ance pool or mu­tual in­surer.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was ex­pected to give a for­mal re­ply to the find­ings by June 30 last year, but af­ter two cy­clone sea­sons since the re­port was fin­ished that has not hap­pened.

A spokes­woman for Rev­enue and Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Min­is­ter Kelly O’Dwyer said State governments could be do­ing more to ease the cost of in­surance.

“There are im­me­di­ate ac­tions the State governments could take to re­duce premi­ums in­clud­ing re­mov­ing stamp duty and ad­dress­ing strata ti­tle reg­u­la­tions which place pressure on premi­ums,” she said.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, the Gov­ern­ment has clearly com­mu­ni­cated to in­sur­ers that they must en­sure any mit­i­ga­tion ef­forts un­der­taken by con­sumers are be­ing re­flected in the premi­ums be­ing charged.”

The spokes­woman said the Gov­ern­ment was still con­sid­er­ing the re­port. WA Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan hit back at the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s sug­ges­tion the State should take more re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“If this is a State Gov­ern­ment is­sue, why did the Ab­bott-Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment waste ev­ery­one’s time es­tab­lish­ing a task­force,” she said.

“This has dragged on for two years with no re­sult other than the pro­duc­tion of shelf fillers.

“We urge the min­is­ter to de­liver on her prom­ise and give the Gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse. If it is all too hard for the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment, ad­mit it and do not leave north­ern Aus­tralians hang­ing.”

Du­rack MHR Melissa Price failed to re­spond by time of print.

The re­port has drawn crit­i­cism

from gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try bod­ies in the North West over a range of is­sues.

These in­cluded claims that con­cerns of home and busi­ness own­ers had not been taken into ac­count and fail­ing to ad­dress peo­ple in high-risk ar­eas who don’t in­sure.

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