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22 May 2013
The Federal Government will consult the states and territories to ensure their captive insurance and reinsurance arrangements are reported transparently and on a comparable basis, Attorney-General and Emergency Management Minister Nicola Roxon says.
The Government has agreed to only one of four recommendations made by the Senate Economics References Committee report on state and territory insurance after the 2011 Queensland floods.
Among the recommendations the Government will not support is the call for the Natural Disaster Insurance Review (NDIR) to investigate whether the international insurance market offers reinsurance for state and territory road networks.
The inquiry was mounted after the Queensland Government admitted it had not insured the state’s infrastructure and was relying on the Commonwealth Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).
Announcing the Government’s response last week, Ms Roxon says the Queensland Government was forced to buy reinsurance for $53 billion of assets last year but could not get cover for roads. (see Queensland considers better flood risk information )
She says the Federal Government has already amended the NDRRA to require reviews of state insurance arrangements, to assess if they are cost-effective and minimise taxpayers’ exposure to disaster loss.
The Senate report recommends that the term “cost-effective” be defined and the Federal Government has “noted” the recommendation.
The Government also “notes” a recommendation that the Commonwealth Grants Commission require the states and territories inform it of their past insurance and reinsurance receipts for natural disaster premiums, and that these are taken into account when determining states’ share of GST revenue.
The Federal Government says the Grants Commission is an independent statutory body but the states that have disaster insurance have this year provided data.
“The Commonwealth Grants Commission is analysing the states’ and territories’ premium payments and insurance receipts for the past four financial years and used this information to calculate the recommended GST distribution for 2012/13,” Ms Roxon said.
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