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Treasury Taskforce hosts pool details meeting

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Representatives from major insurers and the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) have attended a roundtable with a Treasury-led taskforce as part of preliminary consultations on the Federal Government’s cyclone reinsurance pool.

The meeting was held on Friday “to seek feedback on the technical design questions” outlined in a consultation paper, which has called for submissions by June 18.

“Further public consultations will be undertaken in the course of the development of the reinsurance pool design,” a spokeswoman told today.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the pool will be backed by a $10 billion Government guarantee and will provide cover for cyclones and related flood above the Tropic of Capricorn from July next year.

The Government predicts $1.5 billion in premium savings over 10 years but wants the scheme to be cost-neutral.

Treasury Deputy Secretary, Markets Group Meghan Quinn told a Senate Committee estimates meeting earlier last week that preliminary work had been undertaken with the Australian Government Actuary and an actuarial consulting firm over reducing premiums through a pool.

“The exact parameters of the scheme need to be carefully designed in order to deliver a reduction in premiums,” she said. “That is why we are going through the consultation process and working very closely with industry to shape and frame the reinsurance pool to deliver reductions, as the government has asked us to do.”

Consumer groups, which were not invited to the roundtable, have expressed frustration over not being involved in the discussions so far.

“Nobody from Government has reached out to us to be a part of this process,” Financial Rights Legal Centre Policy and Communications Officer Julia Davis told “I only found out about the idea through the budget announcements, and only heard about the consultation paper from a contact in the industry.”

Queensland consumer representative Margaret Shaw says she was not invited to the roundtable but Treasury has requested an online meeting with her at a later date.

Labor Member for Barron River Craig Crawford says far north Queensland homeowners still face another storm season before the pool is set to start.

“Insurance premiums will continue to soar because Scott Morrison dragged his feet,” he said.