Shortly after a TV report pointed fingers on the back of Cyclone Debbie, a North Queensland couple has dropped the home insurance for their beachfront home at Toolakea Beach, north of Townsville, so frustrated were they with exorbitant premiums after Cyclone Yasi.
Even as Paul Crew worries that the house he shares with partner Jenni Hogan may be damaged every cyclone season, he said they couldn’t afford to take up insurance after premiums shot up to $6,000 a year from $900, after the category-five cyclone crossed the far north Queensland coast near Mission Beach in Feb. 2011.
“I think it’s a disgrace,” Crewe told The Australian Financial Review. “We just can’t afford our insurance so we had to stop paying it. It puts us in a terrible position, but there’s not much we can do about it. I’m a self-funded retiree but I don’t have a fortune.”
Case studies such as Crewe’s will star in the next round of the banking royal commission, to be held in Darwin this week, to investigate natural disaster insurance – the most scrutinised aspect of which, according to the commission’s recent discussion paper, was the availability and affordability of cover and how insurers handle disaster-related claims.
The commission will hear cases involving two insurers, Youi and Suncorp, with Commissioner Kenneth Hayne presenting studies that consider how insurers treated customers who were impacted by Cyclone Debbie in 2017, the Broken Hill hailstorm in 2016, the Wye River bushfires in 2015, and the Hunter Valley floods in 2015, AFR reported.