Insurance costs soar in FNQ

THE consumer watchdog's ­report on insurance in Northern Australia has recommended a raft of changes to the industry after finding premium rates have risen faster and by more than in other regions of the nation.

Between 2007 and 2008, and 2018-2019, average premiums for combined home and contents insurance increased by 127 per cent for Far North Queensland, mainly driven by the higher natural peril risk.

The ACCC's report follows a three-year inquiry into insurance costs.

"In 2018-19, the average premium for combined home and contents insurance across Northern Australia was approximately $2500, almost double that for the rest of Australia ($1400)," the report said.

"We recommend changes to improve the comparability of insurance products, require insurers to share certain ­information with consumers and make it easier for consumers to access existing information sources.

"Average excess levels selected by policyholders in north Queensland … around 50 to 60 per cent higher than average excess levels selected by policyholders in the rest of Australia," it said.

The ACCC also recommended standard definitions be adopted for prescribed events, that insurers "prominently publish" product disclosure statements and give "no less than 28 days' notice" before the expiration of home, contents and strata insurances.

"The current minimum time frame does not provide consumers with sufficient time to consider their renewal quote and explore their insurance options," the report stated.

Originally published as Insurance costs soar in Far North Queensland