Insurers must ease Premium Pressure now: Thompson
Pictured above: PIcnic Bay Jetty extensively damaged after Cyclone Yasi 2011. Photo Debbie Denison
Herbert MP Phillip Thompson has written to the major insurers, calling on them to stop price gouging and immediately pass on the savings from the Australian Government’s Reinsurance Pool, which comes into effect tomorrow.
Mr Thompson said claims by insurers that they need more time to implement the changes are an insult to local families and businesses who are being crippled by cost-of-living pressures.
“The time for excuses is over; I personally have sat around the table with the major insurers for almost three years to work through the design of the Reinsurance Pool. While I’m sure nobody is surprised that the insurers are dragging their feet on this, it is a kick in the guts to North Queenslanders and a move that is cementing the reputation of the insurers as being ethically bankrupt,” Mr Thompson said.
“I’m calling on all insurance companies that are supposed to represent local families and businesses to do the right thing, show some basic decency and pass on the savings from tomorrow.
“Insurance companies have no problems implementing increases to premiums with little to no lead time; there are absolutely no excuses for any delays around passing on the cost savings to North Queenslanders.”
Mr Thompson first held a roundtable meeting with the responsible Minister and the CEOs of the major insurers in Townsville in 2019, where the Reinsurance Pool design was discussed at length.
“There was always going to be an implementation period but what we’re hearing from insurers in regard to delays is ridiculous. There have been no surprises and the insurance companies need to do the honourable thing and start passing on savings from tomorrow,” he said.
“I’ve also written to the new minister responsible for the Reinsurance Pool, Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones, as well as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
“The new Minister has a responsibility to oversee the implementation of the Reinsurance Pool and ensure it’s delivering on its intended outcomes for the people of Northern Australia – it was one of the most important pieces of legislation to pass the previous Parliament.
“Minister Jones must pick up the phone and start compelling insurers to implement these savings now or show cause why they can’t.
“The ACCC has a responsibility here too, under the legislation, to oversee premiums and make sure the savings the insurers are accessing through the pool are being passed on to customers.”
Legislation to enact the Reinsurance Pool for Cyclone and related Flood Damage passed both houses of Parliament on 30 March 2022, with the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation (ARPC) to operate the pool from 1 July 2022.