No further development for Government website

No further development for Government website | Insurance Business

No further development for Government website
The recently launched ASIC website which aims to help residents of Far North Queensland find affordable insurance for their properties will receive no major developments, according to an ASIC spokesperson.

The site, which was launched at the end of March, has courted controversy throughout its inception and launch as insurance brokers have criticised its approach to the area but the regulator has remained staunch in its support.

“Since the launch of the North Queensland home insurance comparison website, ASIC has received only minor feedback from industry,” an ASIC spokesperson said of the site.

“At this stage, ASIC is not planning any further developments to the website, apart from including Youi comparison data and publishing the remaining Suncorp data.

“Overall the website is running smoothly, and ASIC will continue to monitor the site for feedback from consumers and industry.”

Karen Hardy of ACME Insurance Brokers based in Tully, QLD organised a petition at the time of the Government’s announcement of their plans for the North Queensland region, has noted that the current site needs improvements for both broker and customer benefit.

Government has shattered the expectations of consumers in FNQ and made it easy for the insurers who have not listed their premiums to charge anything below the quoted prices and come out smelling like roses,” Hardy said.

“I can't believe taxpayers funds are being squandered on something so utterly incomplete and bogus. The three primary insurers left in our region don't even display a premium.

“The cost of implementing and maintaining such a duplicitous facility. As a tax payer I am appalled.”

Robert Cooper, director of Cooper Professional Risk, noted that the simplicity of the site is a double-edged sword as it leaves customers uninformed on some key policy details.

“They have kept it so simple and can easily be manipulated by an insurer who can constantly alter their prices on the pretext they have expanded the categories of the area of risk more,” Cooper said.

“We do not know the extent of cover for each. For instance, it may say it covers Storm Surge, but how do they define it when they exclude other actions of the sea?  They may define it only when there is a certain category of cyclone rather than any type of storm.

“Others may exclude Cyclones causing surge. Maybe they cap it to $50,000 only or $25,000. We just do not know because you cannot expand it out. You cannot dig deeper and compare the actual policy differences.

“In other words we cannot get a true comparison of policies, it is a very basic guide, not offering a lot of comparison of cover and it is a poor attempt to demonstrate support by the government for people living in these regions.”

Cooper thinks that the government overhaul which would be best felt by the area would be along the lines of risk management and mitigation as houses that undertake changes to avert risk will then benefit from discounted premiums.

“There is much more risk reduction work that can be done to make these risks cope better with storms,” Cooper said.

“Apart from making it part of new Building codes, the government could assist with funding such advice, and it may be done in conjunction with discounting the premiums if such things are done.”