Cyclone retrofit savings disputed
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.