NIBA backs Federal Budget affordability, mitigation measures – The Broker 1 – Insurance News

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) has welcomed Federal Budget measures including a $22.6 million allocation directed at insurance issues in disaster-prone areas and the delivery of a pre-election announcement on resilience funding.

“NIBA supports the Federal Government’s Budget commitment to addressing the availability and affordability of insurance and building resilience for future disasters,” the group said.

The Federal Government announced a Hazards Insurance Partnership and Strategic Insurance Project aimed at addressing rising premiums and helping communities be better prepared for disasters. The $22.6 million funding involves a package of reforms to help improve insurance affordability over time.

Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt says the risk of natural disasters is increasing in many areas of Australia, as seen over the past month, which is driving up the cost of insurance and leading people to underinsure and in some case not even take out cover.

“We want to identify the most pressing insurance issues in high-risk areas and test the best policy solutions to reduce insurance costs,” Mr Watt said. “All of these measures support our flagship Disaster Ready Fund – a commitment of up to $200 million per year to fund investments that build long term resilience.”

Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones says a forum for cooperation between the Government and the insurance sector will address issues driven by natural hazards.

The Australian Climate Service will establish a dataset on affordability, underinsurance, and non-insurance issues, which will help inform policy design, while a national mitigation measure knowledge base will provide insureds with options to reduce the risks their properties face.

“We will also unlock private sector investment in community level risk reduction through public-private sector partnerships that identify and fund risk reduction investments to put downward pressure on insurance premiums,” Mr Jones said.

The Government will also develop standard definitions for certain natural hazards in insurance contracts and review the standard cover regime to improve consumer understanding of insurance products.

Honan Insurance COO Laurence Basell says in a Budget overview that targeted spending on preventative measures for natural disasters, disaster readiness and relief is welcome, but limited action on cyber security was disappointing in the current landscape.

“There were a number of initiatives we flagged pre-budget, that we believed would have benefited the broader economy and insurance industry,” he said. “These were not addressed in the budget.”

Other measures Honan sought included action to reduce the prevalence of defects in strata complexes through a national approach to large-scale building defects legislation changes and a Government-funded pool to assist at-risk communities in purchasing alternative cover, such as parametric insurance.

Budget announcements included a commitment to build one million new “well-located” homes under a new housing accord with states and other groups.

Honan National Head of Corporate Insurance and Risk Solutions Poppy Foxton says careful planning will be important given past impacts from building homes in flood or bushfire prone areas.

“It would be good to see how the Government plans to roll out the build project, particularly noting the current demand for builders after the recent catastrophic events, the increased cost and shortage of building materials,” she said.

“Proper town planning that ensures robust build materials, effective land management, and disaster mitigation planning will ensure these new homes do not become uninsurable for the new occupants and fund investors.”



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