PLAN TO TACKLE NORTH’S SKYROCKETING INSURANCE
Insurer claims premiums to drop with program to cyclone- proof dwellings
A GOVERNMENT- funded retrofit program to better protect North Queensland homes against cyclones is the best way to reduce soaring insurance premiums, a study has found.
Suncorp will today launch the Build to Last report, a joint initiative with James Cook University’s Cyclone Testing Station and consultant Urbis, which found a retrofit program would deliver wide ranging social and economic benefits.
It comes as homeowners in the North are paying up to 800 per cent more on their insurance premiums than those in southeast Queensland since Cyclone Yasi.
The Build to Last report’s findings include:
For every dollar spent on low- cost retrofits, the community will save at least $ 3;
Installing strapping on re- placed roofs could deliver about $ 12 for every dollar spent and
Many low- cost retrofits would pay for themselves after one Yasi- like cyclone.
Suncorp is now calling on the Federal and State governments to implement a retrofit- ting program, including roof upgrades, door retrofits and window protection.
Suncorp Personal Insurance chief executive Mark Milliner said his company would reduce premiums by 20 per cent for North Queensland homes that were retrofitted.
“We’ve laid out the program of work – what we’re asking governments at all levels is to fund this going forward,” he said. “The report shows clearly that cyclone resilience is smart for the homeowner, smart for government and smart for the whole region. It makes good economic and social sense.
“Beyond the clear economic benefits, there would be invaluable social outcomes like the reduced risk of mental health impacts, death and injury.”
Cyclone Testing Station director David Henderson said the report’s findings were the culmination of months of policy and claims analysis.
“We reviewed thousands of Suncorp insurance policies and claims from Cyclone Larry ( 2006) and Yasi ( 2011) and found there was a greater percentage of older housing that suffered significant structural damage compared to housing built to today’s wind- load standards,” Dr Henderson said.
“The analysis shows preventing such failures through a retrofit program will greatly improve our community’s resilience, significantly reduce the size and number of claims and have a positive effect on premium prices in North Queensland.”