The insurance industry has raised concerns about the Federal Government granting foreign insurers easier access to the North Queensland market.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann yesterday announced a plan to launch a home and contents comparison website for the region, as well as encourage more involvement from unauthorised foreign insurers.

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) Acting CEO Karl Sullivan says the industry is urgently seeking more details about the initiatives.

“North Queensland homeowners need to be assured they have the same level of protection, and that companies and products are regulated to the same standard, as the rest of Australia,” he says.

“This is particularly important given the very high exposure households and businesses in this region have to cyclones and floods.

“The industry is concerned consumers who buy a product from a UFI under these new guidelines may not be able to rely on that company to deliver on its promise if the consumer needs to make a claim.”

Sullivan says the ICA believes all participants in the market should abide by the same regulations, and exceptions that diminish consumer rights should not be made.

He says the industry broadly supported a proposal to develop an engineering assessment program for strata-title properties, adding that the ICA had already teamed with James Cook University to develop a comprehensive strata building inspection scheme.

“This scheme remains available for government to access and implement,” he says.