John Lebsanft is angry his insurance premiums have increased considerably because of the floods, even though his home was not inundated.
John Lebsanft is angry his insurance premiums have increased considerably because of the floods, even though his home was not inundated. Scottie Simmonds

Insurance price hike outrage

BUNDABERG homeowners have hit out at insurance companies that have used the Christmas floods as an excuse to hike up premiums – even if they do not insure for floods.

Bundaberg North resident Angela Dick said her insurance company blamed the increase of the floods, even though they did not cover flooding.

“It’s gone up almost $200 in two years,” she said.

Ms Dick was so angry to see her NRMA home insurance premium rise from $303 in 2009 to $490 this year that she called her insurance company to complain.

She said when she rang the company to complain, the woman she spoke to started to tell her about the floods.

“I pointed out to her their policies do not cover floods,” she said.

“That company certainly didn't pay out for any of the flooding in Bundaberg.”

Ms Dick said the flooding did not justify a big increase in her premiums.

“To blame it on flooding when they don't cover flooding is wrong,” she said.

Ms Dick said the woman she spoke to was taken aback when she pointed out they did not cover flooding.

“Not everyone's an idiot,” she said.

“I used to work in the insurance industry, so I know a bit of what I'm talking about.”

Ms Dick said she planned to ring around and take her business somewhere else.

“I know they'll all have gone up, but I'll find one that covers flooding,” she said.

Svensson Heights man John Lebsanft said his insurance with RACQ had jumped from $595.88 in June 2010 to $739.29 in June 2011 – a leap of about 24% – even though he lived in a suburb well above the river.

Mr Lebsanft said the only way his house could flood was if he left the hose on.

“The only flooding likely here is if I left the garden hose on and emptied the Bundaberg Regional Council reservoir,” he said.

Mr Lebsanft said he had written a letter of complaint to his insurance company.

Insurance Council of Australia communications general manager Paul Giles said all insurance companies made their own individual decisions about premiums.

He said one of the factors in insurance premium rises was Australia’s exposure to the global market and the number of natural disasters.

But he said Australian insurers were competing with insurance companies from around the world when they bought their own insurance overseas.

“They have to go overseas because there are not re-insurers in Australia,” he said.

“There have been a lot of natural disasters around the world in the past year, which means the reinsurers have been paying out a lot.

“That means they put up the price of the insurance they sell.”