Push­ing for changes to in­sur­ance costs

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE high cost of in­sur­ance in north Queens­land is go­ing to be a key fo­cus of a new par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee set up by the new­ly­elected Lib­eral Govern­ment.

The cost of home in­sur­ance, par­tic­u­larly strata in­sur­ance, has es­ca­lated in re­cent years mak­ing it un­af­ford­able for some peo­ple.

Trea­surer of the body cor­po­rate for Seas­tar Apart­ments, Mar­garet Shaw, is very pas­sion­ate about this is­sue and has been fight­ing against the in­creased charges for the past two years.

Ms Shaw met with Fed­eral Mem­ber for Daw­son Ge­orge Chris­tensen in Air­lie Beach on Mon­day.

Mr Chris­tensen will join the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee which has been set up to for­mu­late a White Pa­per on de­vel­op­ment in north­ern Aus­tralia.

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Le­ich­hardt War­ren Entsch is based in Cairns and will chair the com­mit­tee.

Mr Chris­tensen said the high costs of in­sur­ance would be a pri­or­ity of the White Pa­per.

He said rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the In­sur­ance Coun­cil of Aus­tralia and the four main in­sur­ance com­pa­nies would be in­vited to take part in dis­cus­sions about the is­sue – and he hoped that would hap­pen be­fore the end of the year.

Ms Shaw said she hoped there would fi­nally be some changes made.

“I hope some­body at last is go­ing to do some­thing. In­sur­ance is not a lux­ury. It’s a ne­ces­sity,” she said.

Mr Chris­tensen said it was also in the in­sur­ance in­dus­try’s favour to find a so­lu­tion.

“When in­sur­ance is un­af­ford­able, peo­ple stop tak­ing it out. Then a nat­u­ral disas­ter hap­pens and we find half the pop­u­la­tion is unin­sured. Then peo­ple ask the Govern­ment to step in and you end up with a nat­u­ral disas­ter levy. Where does that leave the in­sur­ance in­dus­try? There are plenty of other coun­tries that have nat­u­ral disas­ter levies but I think the in­sur­ance sec­tor needs to sort out its is­sues.”

Ms Shaw said some build­ings dam­aged in the Bris­bane floods were hit with an in­crease of 36 per cent to their in­sur­ance costs – and yet the in­sur­ance on some build­ings in the Whit­sun­day re­gion had in­creased by more than 300 per cent since Cy­clone Yasi even though no claims had been made.

IN­SUR­ANCE CLAIMS: Trea­surer of the body cor­po­rate at Sea Star Apart­ments Mar­garet Shaw dis­cusses in­sur­ance is­sues with Mem­ber for Daw­son Ge­orge Chris­tensen.

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