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Independent review examines strata sector

Steadfast has commissioned an independent review by consultant John Trowbridge into remuneration and the delivery of services in strata amid an increasing focus by regulators on issues affecting the high-density building sector.

CEO Robert Kelly says the review may be completed over the next five or six weeks and will be available in the public domain, as the company takes a pro-active approach.

Mr Kelly was asked at the half-year results if the group’s businesses could be affected by any government reviews related to strata.

“Why we are doing this review of the remuneration is to actually be ahead of the game and to make sure if we ever come under review, that we have canvassed the position with all the players,” he said. “Hopefully we will have an agreed point of view that would be sustainable in the market.”

Steadfast Underwriting Agencies includes the CHU and Axis residential and commercial strata businesses. It also owns QUS Strata Insurance, which has faced capacity issues after AIG Australia decided to end an underwriting arrangement.

Mr Kelly says the impact of climate change and weather events is putting more pressure on strata, as highlighted in northern Queensland, and at the same time an increasing number of developments are being built.

The company has assumed some responsibility in conjunction with managing agents, brokers within and outside Steadfast, and a range of strata managers, to have a closer look at the area, he says.

Mr Kelly says sometimes erroneous information is circulated on pricing mechanisms and arrangements in different jurisdictions.

The NSW Government released a review of strata regulation late last year, which touched on insurance issues, while it was also a focus in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Northern Australia Insurance Inquiry.

Broker remuneration broadly will be examined as part of the Quality of Advice review, recommended by the Hayne royal commission, which is due to be completed this year.