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Allianz floats ‘subsidy arrangement’ for north

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A “subsidy arrangement” to fund a government-backed insurance pool is the long-term solution to addressing the north’s premium woes, Allianz says.

Such arrangements have proved effective, the insurer says, citing the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation and the UK Government-backed Flood Re.

In both cases, levies are used to fund the insurance pools.

“Allianz has concluded that, for many properties highly vulnerable to flood and cyclone, affordable home insurance can only be delivered through some form of subsidy arrangement,” the insurer says in a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) northern Australia insurance inquiry.

“We believe a government-backed reinsurance facility would be the most efficient and effective way of reducing extreme premiums faced by homeowners with flood and cyclone risk.”

Suncorp’s submission says a strategy built around mitigation, climate adaption and tax relief offers a sustainable path for the north. The “double-tax” all Queenslanders pay for insuring their properties is worsening the premium affordability issue, it warns.

The insurer also calls on Canberra to start addressing the issue, instead of launching a series of inquiries, such as the ACCC probe, that focus on the same topic.

It says there have been at least 10 government-commissioned and Parliament-initiated inquiries into the issue of affordability in six years.

“The cost of carrying out and complying with these inquiries is estimated to be several-million dollars, which could have been spent protecting northern Australians through improved standards, stronger infrastructure and more resilient communities,” Suncorp says.

“Each inquiry may be conducted differently and lead to different insights and information used, but the result is typically the same: northern Australia will continue to experience higher costs for home insurance if the region’s resilience and preparation are not addressed.”

RACQ Insurance’s submission says investment in mitigation is the key to affordability, rather than more inquiries.