Insurance crisis recognised in Federal budget

HELP is at hand for Whitsunday residents feeling the pressure of high insurance premiums with Tuesday night's Federal budget committing funding for measures aimed at reducing premiums in North Queensland.

The Abbott Government has promised to provide up to $12.5million over three years (starting in 2014-15) for engineering assessments of strata-title properties, as well as further funding to establish an insurance comparison website in North Queensland.

Federal member for Dawson, George Christensen, said the grants for engineering assessments would provide better information to insurance companies about risk.

"Bodies corporate will have an opportunity to take necessary action to mitigate risks and reduce their risk assessment by insurers, which will hopefully reduce insurance premiums in some cases," he said.

"[Meanwhile], the insurance comparison website for North Queensland will provide greater transparency and create a greater competition among insurance companies."

Mr Christensen said these measures would make an immediate impact on the insurance industry across North Queensland but there was more work to do.

Local resident Margaret Shaw, who has been fighting for lower insurance premiums for the past three years, said there was certainly an urgency to act.

"I think it's a start, but I don't think it's enough and I don't think it will bring back the competition and we need that back urgently," she said.

"If you have a property in the Whitsundays and you've been properly risk assessed and not risk-assumed, which is what's happening at the moment, based on postcodes, there is no reason why you shouldn't have parity with Brisbane."

Mr Christensen said Tuesday's budget measures were the result of extensive consultation with the community and a parliamentary inquiry and he promised the Government would continue to work on other solutions to bring back affordability to the North Queensland insurance market.


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