Changes could make in­sur­ance more af­ford­able

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

UN­AF­FORD­ABLE in­sur­ance poli­cies could soon be­come a thing of the past thanks to a strata build­ing re­silience project un­der­taken by CGU In­sur­ance.

The project will start in midApril and fo­cus on im­prov­ing build­ing re­silience to se­vere weather so that cus­tomers can re­ceive sus­tain­able pre­mium re­duc­tions.

CGU’s wholly-owned sub­sidiary Strata Unit Un­der­writ­ers (SUU), which cur­rently in­sures a sub­stan­tial num­ber of res­i­den­tial strata prop­er­ties in North Queens­land, will over­see its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Un­der the project, CGU will fund build­ing risk as­sess­ments un­der­taken by specialist build­ing con­sul­tants Ser­gon, across all of the res­i­den­tial strata prop­er­ties that SUU and CGU in­sure in North Queens­land. The as­sess­ments will cover risks such as build­ing con­struc­tion type and method and ex­po­sure to di­rect wind-driven rain, as well as other haz­ards and pos­si­ble de­fects.

Fol­low­ing com­ple­tion of each as­sess­ment, CGU will re­visit its pric­ing, with a view to re­duc­ing pre­mi­ums where pos­si­ble.

CGU chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Peter Harmer said he un­der­stood and em­pathised with the needs and in­ter­ests of cus­tomers and North Queens­land com­mu­ni­ties.

He said un­til the sur­veys were com­pleted, it was dif­fi­cult for CGU to es­ti­mate the size of po­ten­tial pre­mium re­duc­tions but early stage high-level cal­cu­la­tions sug­gested in­di­vid­ual pre­mium re­duc­tions of up to 25 per cent.

Air­lie Beach res­i­dent Mar­garet Shaw, who has been at the fore­front of a three-year cam­paign to lower ex­or­bi­tant in­sur­ance costs, said this was a fan­tas­tic ini­tia­tive that she hoped would be the first of many.

“This means proper risk as­sess­ment rather than post­code lo­ca­tion risk as­sess­ment and ob­vi­ously CGU are ac­knowl­edg­ing we do have a prob­lem,” she said.

Federal MP War­ren Entsch, who is the chair of the bi-par­ti­san se­lect com­mit­tee for north­ern Aus­tralia, said in­sur­ance was an is­sue that had come up on the com­mit­tee’s cur­rent tour.

“If this in­sur­ance dis­as­ter is not fixed it will sti­fle op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth,” he said.

“The in­sur­ance com­pa­nies are on no­tice and if they don’t fix it we will leg­is­late – there’s no doubt about that.”

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