A resident surveys the flood water, which had cut the road off through to Uki during the 2013 floods.
A resident surveys the flood water, which had cut the road off through to Uki during the 2013 floods. John Gass

Council says don't accept insurance hike

TWEED residents annoyed about rising home insurance premiums have a way to fix it, according to the council's acting GM.

Troy Green says home insurance premiums will likely keep rising as companies gather up-to-date risk related data, rather than relying on older modelling.

But the problem is, thousands of Tweed property owners have been incorrectly classed as at high risk of flood, even with the varying individual circumstances of properties.

However, Mr Green says consumers can retaliate with factual information about their property.

"What the Insurance Council (of Australia) wants to do is make it easier for insurance companies to judge risk," he said.

"But if someone is noticing premium increases they should get insurers proof of details, like the height of their properties and other factors, and then they can take that into consideration."

The Insurance Council previously told the Daily News it relies on information provided by local councils, adding the data to their National Flood Information Database to assess risk

They dodged any blame for incorrect flood risk evaluation.

Mr Green said council's flood risk data was indeed passed over to the Insurance Council of Australia, in good faith it would be used to accurately evaluate risk.

He continued, saying some companies may be using the information and their own data to inflate premium pricing, but advised consumers to shop around or put their concerns directly to their insurer.

"The flood studies have been done with the scientific data provided to us," he said.

"It's a best estimate and it's done in best endeavours.

"We don't put together these flood maps to help with insurers. We do it for our own information."

Mr Green said it would be about three months before customers would notice the latest premium changes as a result of councils updated flood risk information.

But he was adamant consumers were not being ripped off.

"No one compels anyone to insure. If you don't like it, don't buy it," he said.

"This is a natural increase that's happened and will continue to happen.

"The insurers want it (premiums) to be based more on risk."

Tweed councillor Phil Youngblutt previously said he believes council's Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan was the catalyst that led to Tweed's widespread insurance hike.

Mr Green would not refute Cr Youngblutt publicly, saying "councillors are free to say what they want".

Cr Youngblutt and Lismore MP Thomas George, who covers Murwillumbah, were the first to raise the alarm about incorrectly based premium rises.

- Have you been affected by insurance hikes. Leave your story in the comments section below. 



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