Australia: Flood affected councils and residents in Queensland are hoping that a landmark deal brokered by the Newman Government to give insurers access to free flood map data will place heavy downward pressure on premiums that skyrocketed after successive floods.
Queensland Natural Resources and Mines Minister, Andrew Cripps, has announced that a much anticipated Memorandum of Understanding between the Queensland Government and peak body the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has finally been signed, a move that both parties hope will make cover easier, fairer and more affordable.
Insurers had been under sustained fire from several Queensland mayors over a series of large premium increases sheeted back to policy holders to take account of the risk of flooding that were sometimes applied indiscriminately to properties based on postcodes rather than elevation or other relevant topographical information.
In 2011 the Local Government Association of Queensland slammed claims from insurers that councils were withholding flood maps from insurers in an effort to deflect blame for the insensitive treatment of flood victims.
At the time the councils argued they created flood maps as a necessary resource for their own emergency response purposes – rather than as a free service to insurers.
Now Queensland’s State Government is clearly hoping that an opening of the flood data gates will prompt insurers to revisit and recalibrate steep premiums applied to those who really are left high and dry.