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Sure bumps up strata limits in crisis-hit market

Sure Insurance is raising its sum insured limit for residential strata to $20 million from $5 million in northern and regional Queensland.

MD Bradley Heath says the region’s affordability crisis has been exacerbated by some providers exiting residential strata, leaving many body corporates "faced with the prospect of not being able to adequately insure their complexes or ... forced to source residential strata insurance cover from offshore providers".

The residential strata policies with an effective date from April 1 are being underwritten by Axa’s XL Insurance. Sure says it will recognise and reward – with reduced premiums – well-managed body corporates that have enhanced resilience in their complexes. 

The target region may include more than 500 strata complexes in the $5-$20 million range, based on rough estimates. 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Northern Australia Insurance Inquiry found competition for strata properties with 11 or more dwellings and with sums insured above $5 million was “soft”, especially for those with a higher exposure to cyclone and water damage.

Early last year, Sure became the second insurer to join the federal government-backed cyclone reinsurance pool, which covers home and residential strata losses caused by cyclones and related flooding from the time an event is declared until 48 hours after it has ended. The pool, which all insurers with eligible risks must join by the end of this year, also includes limited commercial cover.

Sure began underwriting home and contents policies in northern Queensland in 2019. It introduced residential strata, then underwritten by Liberty Mutual, in 2020.