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Insurers team up to help FNQ strata

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IAG and Suncorp have teamed up with James Cook University (JCU) to help make North Queensland strata residences more cyclone-resilient – and cheaper to insure.

The insurers will share their claims data with the JCU Cyclone Testing Station, which is studying the impact of tropical cyclones on strata properties in north Queensland.

The study aims to understand the impact of wind-driven rain and water entry that causes major damage and sets premiums soaring.

Cyclone Testing Station Director David Henderson told insuranceNEWS.com.au that a bigger pool of claims data increases the chance of finding some “low-hanging fruit”.

“We want to find out what is causing the most damage. Is it the water coming through the windows or is it the water coming through the valley gutters or eaves? Or is it somewhere else?

“It’s a matter of going back through assessors’ reports to find out what is the driver of these losses and develop mitigation measures.”

JCU conducted a similar landmark study last year with the assistance of Suncorp, examining home claims from Cyclone Larry in 2006 and Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

The research concluded that homes could benefit from low-cost improvements – usually called retrofits – to non-structural components like doors and windows.

Suncorp spokesman Rob White told insuranceNEWS.com.au the group is already using the research to reduce premiums through its cyclone resilience benefit program.

“We’re putting into place ways for policyholders to retrofit their homes to make them more cyclone-safe, and as a result we are reducing premiums for those who can demonstrate they have carried these out,” Mr White said.

IAG CEO Australian Business Division Ben Bessell says in severe cases cyclone damage has forced families to relocate, stopped apartment rentals and closed businesses.

“This initiative is a great step towards supplying and sharing more information that will empower residents to make more informed decisions and actively manage their risk to reduce the impact from wind-driven rain,” Mr Bessell said.

Claims from Tropical Cyclone Marcia, which hit central coastal Queensland in February last year, will also be used in the study.