Insurance giant Suncorp has hit out at a federal government proposal to intervene in the north Queensland insurance market to bring down premiums, saying the focus should be on reducing the impact of cyclones.
The government has launched a taskforce aimed at addressing high premiums in the region, which is a high-risk area for cyclones, and is considering options including the launch of a community-owned insurer.
But Suncorp chief executive Patrick Snowball said the region already had a functioning and competitive insurance market and government intervention would do nothing to protect the community.
“Such potential actions will not solve the underlying problem: Cyclones are an all too frequent occurrence in northern Australia and these proposals will neither reduce the community risk nor provide the protection to life and property that everybody deserves,” he said.
Mr Snowball said a better option would be to focus on mitigating the impact cyclones had on the region most years.
“Every year, this country spends an extraordinary amount of money on both public and private assets in the aftermath of natural disasters,” he said.
“Spending a fraction of that money on protection and resilience strikes us as a much more sensible approach.”
He said Suncorp, which paid out more than $1 billion in natural hazard claims during the 2014/15 financial year, was working with James Cook University on ways to lessen the impact of cyclones.