LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has welcomed news that insurance companies will now have access to the most up-to-date flood risk data when calculating property insurance premiums.
“I congratulate the Queensland Government for choosing to work proactively with the Insurance Council of Australia to address common insurance issues,” he said. “This is a very important move.
“It was the South East corner of the state that was most affected by major flooding events, yet we here in the North and Far North have been equally penalised if not more.
“By releasing this information through the MOU, insurers will have access to the most accurate spatial and elevation data and this should have a significant impact on property insurance in Far North Queensland.
“This is another piece of the puzzle and I’m looking forward to bringing a whole range of other issues that impact on insurance affordability in Northern Australia to the Round Table, including the ongoing tendency by insurance companies to assess based on postcode rather than on actual risk.”
Mr Entsch said that for far too long there have been major discrepancies between the State Government flood maps that the insurers used to determine risk, and the Cairns Regional Council maps which in many cases were more recent and accurate.
“After the 2011 floods the State Government undertook a rapid floodplain mapping program, however this was only designed to be used as a quick guide to flood hazard areas. But feedback to my office suggests that many insurers were determining policy pricing based on this information rather than using data from local authorities on the ground.
“At my own property in Whitfield I had to accept compulsory flood cover but if floodwaters were lapping at my footpath, the CBD would be 30m underwater.
“Now, insurers will be able to use official flood data and mapping for the first time and they can also access Queensland Globe, which details flood lines from the 2011 and 2013 flood events. Clearly this should show little impact in Far North Queensland.”
Mr Entsch said property owners should also be aware that in all cases where insurers are assessing flood risk, they should be using the most detailed study available.“This means that if Cairns Regional Council has high-level flood risk mapping available for a suburb, it should take precedent over State Government mapping. Policy holders should dispute this with their insurer if they believe their property has been assessed using out-of-date data.”