FITZROY FLOATEL: Tony Higgins updates the flood sign outside his Rockhampton hotel in 2012.
FITZROY FLOATEL: Tony Higgins updates the flood sign outside his Rockhampton hotel in 2012. Sharyn Oneill Roksflood

Government wants to protect victims from insurance hikes

ROCKHAMPTON'S Tony Higgins knows just how hard natural disasters can hit small business.

He lost weeks of trade in the 2011 flood, but with little structural damage and no flood insurance, it was hard to bounce back from Mother Nature's devastating blow.

Mr Higgins yesterday told The Morning Bulletin he welcomed a Federal Government investigation into reducing the high cost of insurance for Central Queensland households, small businesses and farmers.

The government will look into introducing either a government backed reinsurance pool for natural disasters or a push for insurance groups, which are effectively owned by policy holders.

How have you found your insurance premium prices of late?

This poll ended on 03 April 2015.

Current Results

Reasonable

6%

Average

3%

High

35%

Extremely high

56%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The pool would act in the same way as the current Federal Government backed terrorism insurance pool that underwrites certain risks from terrorism related incidents.

Mr Higgins said at times it was "extremely hard to justify insurance" and said insurers needed to understand different types and sizes of businesses, not cover them under blanket policies.

He said "anything that takes a positive step in covering losses from natural disasters" was something he would like to hear more information about.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said insurance costs were one of the biggest issues raised by small business owners and residents.

"I want to bring parity to overpriced insurance premiums in Capricornia, compared to other parts of Australia," Ms Landry said.

"The cost of insurance for small business, households and farmers are enormous and many are struggling to even afford it.

"This results in people being unable to pay their insurance bill, putting them at risk from hazardous incidents like fire, floods or cyclones."

Ms Landry said the changes would take any uncertainty out of the market when it came to natural disasters.

"Insurance companies could no longer bill this as a fluctuating factor into their premiums, therefore limiting costs to consumers," she said.

"It is hoped that the study will deliver important changes ... and comes about because there is simply no affordable insurance cover in many parts of Northern Australia."



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