Res­i­dents strug­gle af­ter string of dis­as­ters In­surance on way up

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Ryan Mathe­son ryan. mathe­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.

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