Pre­mi­ums in spot­light ACCC sure fo­rums will spark in­sur­ance re­forms

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT tony. raggatt@ news. com. au

THE Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion is urg­ing peo­ple to main­tain the rage on high in­sur­ance costs by at­tend­ing its fo­rums and mak­ing sub­mis­sions to its in­quiry.

The reg­u­la­tor will hold its first pub­lic fo­rum in Townsville tonight at the Ho­tel Grand Chan­cel­lor as part of a se­ries of events which will take it from North Queens­land’s east coast, to the red cen­tre at Alice Springs and west to Broome and Kar­ratha.

“My sense is peo­ple still have very strong feel­ing about this,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said ahead of the Townsville fo­rum. “For a lot of peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly those on low in­comes, the ( cost of the) pre­mi­ums are re­ally hurt­ing.”

The com­mis­sion re­leased an is­sues pa­per last month which draws on sev­eral pre­vi­ous in­quiries and re­ports. in- clud­ing fig­ures show­ing the largest in­creases have oc­curred in North Queens­land.

The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment Ac­tu­ary found av­er­age pre­mium rates for strata prop­er­ties in­creased 300 per cent be­tween 2007 and 2012 in the North but only about 80 per cent for res­i­den­tial and con­tents poli­cies in the same area.

The ac­tu­ary found strata in­sur­ance at Dar­win in­creased about 60 per cent in the three years to 2012- 13 and be­tween 60 and 100 per cent for res­i­den­tial in­sur­ance in north­ern Western Aus­tralia in four years to 2015. It was found in­sur­ers had un­der­priced pre­mi­ums com­pared with the risk from cy­clones.

Ms Rickard said the ACCC was con­fi­dent of mak­ing “strong rec­om­men­da­tions” to ad­dress the is­sue but needed peo­ple to speak up.

“We are re­ally hop­ing peo­ple from Townsville and the sur­round­ing area will come and tell us their ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said. “We re­ally want on­the- ground ex­pe­ri­ences.”

The ACCC had a “big re­sponse” so far with about 80 sub­mis­sions but Ms Rickard also un­der­stood peo­ple could be ex­cused for think­ing noth­ing would hap­pen be­cause past in­quires had found in­sur­ance hikes had been jus­ti­fied.

“I wouldn’t blame peo­ple if they are over in­quiries but we are a very de­ter­mined or­gan­i­sa­tion,” Ms Rickard said. “We are hope­ful we can come up with a pack­age of re­forms that will make a dif­fer­ence.

“We are con­fi­dent we will be able to make some strong rec­om­men­da­tions. I’m not go­ing to spec­u­late at this stage on what those will be.”

The Townsville fo­rum will be held at Ho­tel Grand Chan­cel­lor today from 5.30pm.

Other fo­rums will be held in Cairns, Dar­win, Alice Springs, Broome, Kar­ratha and Rock­hamp­ton. The in­quiry will run for three years with the com­mis­sion to pro­vide an in­terim re­port to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in November next year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.