Resort threatened by unfair insurance
INSURANCE companies are shunning businesses in the Douglas region based on our postcode.
Mai Tai Resort in Cassowary, one of the most luxurious retreats in the Far North, faces the possibility of closing its doors because the owners cannot secure public liability insurance.
It is the latest example of ridiculous fees and regulations being imposed on small businesses to be highlighted as part of the Gazette’s Save Our Small Businesses campaign.
While public liability insurance is compulsory for Mai Tai Resort, owners Anthony Roxburgh and Andre de Walsche have been unable to find an insurance company willing to offer cover for less than 400 per cent more than their existing policy.
The insurance companies cited the region’s 4877 postcode as too risky due to cyclones and other natural disasters.
“I called some of the biggest insurance companies in Australia and as soon as I said my business was in Port Douglas they almost hung up in my ear, they did not want to know me,” Mr Roxburgh said.
“When they asked me where my business was they said straight out to me . . . ’No, we won’t touch you’.
“It has become a ludicrous situation, the law says I have to have insurance but the insurance companies will not insure me - or they will but then they make the premiums so expensive you simply cannot afford them.
“I’m a small B&B owner who has six rooms - I can have a maximum of 12 people only - and my premium has gone from $2500 to over $10,000 - and that is the cheapest quote if I accept it.”
Desperate, Mr Roxburgh called Queensland Labor Senator Jan Mclucas’s office and said he was met with an indifferent response to his very real problem in trying to comply with the law by insuring his business.
“Senator Mclucas’s aid told me, ’While I sympathise with your predicament there is nothing I can do for you because you are a private business and you need call the ACCC and lodge a complaint with them’,” Mr Roxburgh said.
The Brisbane branch manager of Mai Tai Resort’s current insurer AIB Australia John Duignan said: “While we cannot disclose information about any one client people just have to contact their broker and get the best deal they can.”
Insurance Council of Australia general manager Karl Sullivan blamed the global insurance market because it was “seeing Australia as a bad risk”.
“Anyone in Far North Queensland is just seen as too risky to insure,” Mr Sullivan said.
In the meantime Mr Roxburgh, who has a sound business and has invested a lot of money and hard work over the past eight years, faces the very real prospect of having to close his doors if he cannot get a broker to insure him at a fair price.
Frustrated: Mai Tai Resort’s Andre de Walsche