Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch today announces his serious concerns about the practises of body corporate insurance companies has been referred to the ACCC in a major step forward for property owners in the Far North.
Mr Entsch’s parliamentary colleague, Coalition shadow minister for Small Business, Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs the Hon. Bruce Billson this week officially referred Mr Entsch’s submission to the ACCC.
Property owners have regularly contacted Mr Entsch’s office distraught at massive spikes in their premiums, with insurance giant Zurich achieving market dominance in the Far Northern unit market by undercutting competitors, only to ramp up premiums by as much as 800 percent once it had secured a virtual monopoly.
One stark example in the Far North included an insurance premium with Zurich that rose from $11,000 in 2008 to $92,500 in 2011.
“This is having a profound impact on strata title owners in the Far North, but I’m also hearing horror stories from as far south as Mackay,” Mr Entsch said.
“I am very pleased my colleague Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen has joined me in an effort to get a resolution to this serious problem.
“Many people are absolutely distraught at the massive hikes in their body corporate insurance premiums and some of them will be out on the street if we don’t get this mess sorted out.
“It is also having a serious impact on investment in this sector with body corporate and insurance costs in some cases being higher than the rental returns. This is unsustainable so we need to find a resolution.
“This is only the first stage however, as we need to keep the pressure up to ensure the issue is addressed comprehensively. Mr Christensen and I are working with Mr Billson to establish a broad ranging inquiry into a range of issues impacting on body corporate property.
“We’re in the process of formulating a submission that can be referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Economics for their consideration to establish this broader inquiry.
“I encourage everyone affected by this issue to join me at the Holiday Inn on November 14 for the Natural Disaster Insurance Review where they can highlight their situation. We need to keep the pressure on before the next lot of insurance premiums are issued next year.
“The CEO of Strata Community Australia Mark Lever will also be in attendance so it is a great opportunity to get this issue on the national agenda.”
Mr Entsch has also called on affected people to keep up the pressure on the industry by lodging official complaints about their situation with the Insurance Ombudsman while the ACCC carries out its investigation.