More bite to new in­sur­ance probe

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

An Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion in­quiry into in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums in north­ern Aus­tralia will be able to probe com­pa­nies harder and ac­cess in­for­ma­tion a pre­vi­ous in­quiry into high pre­mi­ums failed to do.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has di­rected the ACCC to un­der­take an in­quiry into af­ford­abil­ity and avail­abil­ity of res­i­den­tial build­ing, con­tents and strata in­sur­ance across the top end.

The in­quiry is be­ing held de­spite the Gov­ern­ment al­ready hav­ing rec­om­men­da­tions from an in­quiry by the North­ern Aus­tralia In­sur­ance Pre­mi­ums task­force sit­ting on the ta­ble since Novem­ber 2015. Du­rack MHR Melissa Price said the ACCC in­quiry would be able to dig deeper than the pre­vi­ous ef­fort.

“The ACCC has com­pul­sory in­for­ma­tion gath­er­ing pow­ers, some­thing that the North­ern Aus­tralia In­sur­ance Task­force did not,” she said.

“The ACCC’s re­mit will be to de­ter­mine whether or not the in­sur­ance providers have acted eth­i­cally in the mar­ket­place. This is why the sec­ond in­quiry was nec­es­sary.

“In ad­di­tion, it will fo­cus on the con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence, some­thing not touched on in pre­vi­ous in­quiries.”

Ms Price said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was still con­sid­er­ing other mea­sures such as mit­i­ga­tion, some­thing all lev­els of gov­ern­ment would have to be party to.

The ACCC will host a se­ries of fo­rums this month, in­clud­ing in Broome on Novem­ber 29 and Kar­ratha on Novem­ber 30.

A fi­nal re­port is due to be sub­mit­ted by Novem­ber 2020, six years af­ter rec­om­men­da­tions from the pre­vi­ous in­quiry were handed down.

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