Residents struggle after string of disasters Insurance on way up
NORTH Queenslanders will be slugged with higher home i n s u r a n c e p r e mi u ms a s insurers look to claw back billions of dollars worth of payouts after a string of natural disasters.
Local home and business owners are set to feel the brunt of rising charges in the wake of consecutive cyclones and an unprecedented level of flooding across the state.
Suncorp Group Ltd posted a 39 per cent fall in net profit for the six months to December 31, while Insurance Australia Group’s net profit in the same period halved from the same time a year earlier.
Suncorp corporate affairs manager Chris Newlan said the rising cost of insurance premiums was inevitable.
‘‘ Twelve months of unprecedented, extreme natural disasters have driven up the cost of providing insurance in Australia,’’ he said.
‘‘ In addition, the value of claims has also steadily r i s e n, a c o mbination o f greater damage, with higher rates of total loss claims, and the increased value average Australian and contents.
‘‘ Premiums need to reflect these increasing costs of protecting our customers.’’
The news follows a freeze on insurance across North Queensland just weeks after the region was battered by Cyclone Yasi.
Suncorp recently slapped a b a n o n r e s i d e n t s f r o m Proserpine north from taking out new policies due to severe storm warnings.
Cardwell has been hit by flooding just a month after it was lashed by the full force of Cyclone Yasi. of the home
Cassowary Coast Council Mayor Bill Shannon said the situation was beginning to take a toll on the community.
‘‘ Locals are going through a lot of anxiety with insurance companies and they just don’t need this extra drama,’’ he said.
‘‘ In my view the response from insurance companies hasn’t been as quick as in Cyclone Larry and that just adds to individuals’ grief.
‘‘ Having said that, people are understanding the fact that it has been a particularly shocking summer.’’
The cyclone-ravaged town remained cut by floodwaters last night as the region braced for the possibility of further flooding overnight.
Cr Shannon said Cyclone Ya s i was c o n t i n u i n g t o plague residents along the coastline.
‘‘ Unfortunately the creeks h e r e a r e f l o wi n g muc h slower because t hey are choked with vegetation from Yasi,’ ’ he s ai d. ‘ ‘ Having something like this a month after the cyclone makes it a lot harder for our people already doing it tough.’’
Authorities are predicting access to the town to reopen today to allow for the delivery of much-needed supplies.