Cy­clone retro­fit sav­ings dis­puted

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - JANE AR­MIT­STEAD

HERBERT MP Ewen Jones says the pro­posed gov­ern­ment- funded retro­fit pro­gram to cy­clone- proof homes would not solve soar­ing in­sur­ance premi­ums.

Sun­corp, to­gether with James Cook Univer­sity’s cy­clone test­ing sta­tion and con­sul­tant Ur­bis, launched the Build to Last re­port yesterday, which found a retro­fit pro­gram was the best way to drop high in­sur­ance premi­ums.

The pro­gram would in­clude roof up­grades, door retrofits and win­dow pro­tec­tion.

But Mr Jones said high in­sur­ance premi­ums were more likely to be re­duced if there was more in­dus­try com­pe­ti­tion. “While retrofitting hous­ing might be a so­lu­tion, what we do have is a lack of com­pe­ti­tion in the ( in­sur­ance) mar­ket­place and record premi­ums,” he said.

Townsville MP Scott Stewart backed the ini­tia­tive as a long- term so­lu­tion to build­ing a re­silient com­mu­nity.

“I think it’s a re­ally good idea, peo­ple will think about this in the long term and think how they can save money,” he said. “The more re­silient we make our homes to these weather events now, the more re­silient our com­mu­nity be­comes and the less costs will fall back on to the com­mu­nity.

The re­port found the com­mu­nity would save at least $ 3 for ev­ery dol­lar spent on low­cost retrofits, many low- cost retrofits would pay for them­selves af­ter one Yasi- like cy­clone, and in­stalling strap­ping on re­placed roofs could de­liver $ 12 for ev­ery dol­lar spent.

Cy­clone Test­ing Sta­tion di­rec­tor David Hen­der­son said sim­ple build­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions would make for safer homes. “Costs would vary depend­ing on the home ... it could be garage doors which are $ 300, up to full roof­ing re­place­ment which are up to $ 30,000.”

Sun­corp per­sonal in­sur­ance chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Milliner was con­fi­dent the move would re­duce premi­ums by 20 per cent for North Queens­land homes that were retro­fit­ted.

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