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22 May 2013
The Federal Government has revealed more measures aimed at making flood insurance simpler and more effective following last year’s floods.
From September the Government will publish quarterly data on the uptake of flood insurance, with the aim of increasing flood cover in the community.
The new statistics will be based on Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) data and will give a state-by-state breakdown of the number of policies that include flood cover, as well as those that provide flood cover on an opt-out basis.
“The data will be published as it is one of the many ways of reminding and prompting households to assess their risk and take appropriate action such as taking out flood insurance,” Federal Treasury said in a statement.
Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten announced the initiatives when tabling the Government’s response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee investigation into the operation of the insurance industry during disaster events and recent increases in residential strata title insurance premiums in north Queensland.
He revealed that regulations relating to the introduction of key facts sheets “will be released for consultation shortly”. The prototype sheets were consumer-tested recently.
Mr Shorten says a new, toll-free 1300 inquiry number and an enhanced National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) website to help locate NIBA brokers “will help put consumers in touch with insurance brokers who can address their needs”.
NIBA CEO Dallas Booth says the improvements to its Need a Broker website will not only help consumers find a nearby broker but also give them access to more information, particularly about flood and residential strata title insurance.
He says many people do not realise that insurance brokers deal with personal as well as commercial insurance.
The Government stopped short of adopting the standing committee’s recommendation to enact legislation to make the General Insurance Code of Practice compulsory for all general insurers and to name and shame those who breach it.
Mr Shorten instead acknowledged that the insurance industry has already implemented some of the recommended changes to the code.
He says ICA’s forthcoming independent review of the code, which starts this month, will consider the standing committee’s remaining recommended changes.
The Government also announced details of a further review into strata pricing in north Queensland (See article here).
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