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Liberals hit back in cyclone pool stoush

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Liberal MPs have defended the former Morrison government’s promotion of the cyclone reinsurance pool scheme after Labor yesterday accused it of misleading the public over potential premium savings.

As reported by insuranceNEWS.com.au, Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones said the Coalition had “deliberately misled” consumers in a bid to win support in the run-up to the federal election in May.

It had flagged reductions of up to 46% for homeowners, 34% for SMEs, and 58% for strata properties, which Mr Jones said was “simply not true”.

Labor has released actuarial analysis by Finity, which shows average savings across the entire sample set (almost 200,000 properties across Queensland, Northern NSW, WA, and NT) as 8% for home, 14% for SME and 13% for strata. The expected savings increase to 19%, 17% and 15% respectively for northern Australia properties, and 38%, 28% and 18% for the worst affected properties.

But Liberal MP for the north Queensland seat of Herbert, Phillip Thompson, says Mr Jones has been “completely disingenuous” in his comments.

“We were very clear,” he said. “We always said for home owners facing the most acute cost pressures there would be savings of up to the figures used, based on the advice provided at the time.”

And Warren Entsch, Liberal MP for Leichhardt in Queensland, says the new government should be working harder to make the pool a success.

“Why didn’t they raise this weeks ago, rather than the day before it launches?” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“They voted for this, they didn’t propose any amendments. They are in government now and they have to govern. If there are problems with the pool, fix them.”

Mr Entsch says he has tried to contact Mr Jones but with no luck.

“In the 10 years I’ve been arguing the toss about this Labor has come up with no solutions. They should be thanking us for setting it up – now let’s work together to make it better.”

Mr Entsch believes a 12-month review of the pool is “a no-brainer” and says he’d like to see it extended out to other natural disasters.

He also says insurers should be pushed to join the pool, which launched today, quickly.

“I’d like to see that accelerated. I’m seeing significant [premium] increases of 50% and 60%. To me that is gouging.

“The government needs to muscle up and hold these buggers to account.”