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Major insurers offer flexibility during eviction moratorium

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Key insurers IAG, Suncorp and Allianz have temporarily removed the requirement for landlord customers to provide an eviction notice when making a claim for loss of rent.

The moves came amid mounting criticism over the industry’s perceived lack of action to help policyholders tide through the fallout arising from the virus pandemic.

“Due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, landlords are only required to provide proof of financial loss rather than a tenant eviction notice or intent to re-let when lodging a claim,” a spokesman for IAG told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

The changes will apply to landlord covers issued by IAG’s NRMA Insurance, CGU, WFI, SGIO and SGIC brands before March 26.

Since March 26, the insurer has suspended the sale of new landlord products across its NRMA Insurance, SGIO and SGIC brands until further notice. Its CGU and WGI brands are still selling landlord covers but with an embargo on rent default cover.

Real estate peak bodies have in the last few weeks called on the industry to step up its efforts for this segment of the market, saying landlords have been affected by the six-month eviction moratorium that is in place to protect tenants.

A spokesman for the Real Estate Institute of Australia told insuranceNEWS.com.au it is still working with the Insurance Council of Australia on “a number of matters” that were raised last month.

“There is still no further clarity due to the complexity arising from eight jurisdictions and non-uniform products,” the spokesman said.

At last week’s House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics hearings, Suncorp CEO Insurance Gary Dransfield said the group’s Terri Scheer landlord brand would not void a claim due to a lack of eviction.

A similar policy is in place for landlord covers issued by other Suncorp brands and will be limited to the period of the moratorium, a spokesman said.

And a spokesman for Allianz told insuranceNEWS.com.au the insurer has adjusted its position to take into account the eviction moratorium that is currently in place.

“Allianz does not require a landlord to issue an eviction notice in order to make a loss of rent claim under a Landlords Insurance policy, if the rent default option has been purchased,” he said.

“Allianz will also generally provide cover in line with the terms and conditions of the policy, for a shortfall arising from a temporary rent reduction negotiated between a landlord and tenant during state and territory governments’ moratoriums on residential tenancy evictions.”