Insurer steps up efforts on strata premium relief

Strata resilience

A major insurer has announced an ambitious plan to undertake full structural assessments of every apartment complex it insures in North Queensland in an attempt to reduce premiums.

CGU last week announced that later this month it would begin inspections of all residential strata properties insured by CGU and its subsidiary Strata Unit Underwriters (SUU), a figure understood to be in the mid-hundreds.

To be undertaken by specialist building consultants Sergon, the assessments will cover risks such as building construction type and method, exposure to direct wind-driven rain, as well as other hazards and possible defects.

Following each assessment, CGU will revisit its pricing and reduce premiums where possible, a process that could start in a matter of weeks.

A CGU spokesman says although it is difficult to estimate the size of the potential reductions, they could be up to 25%.

Insurance affordability in North Queensland has a been hot topic with both the Queensland and Federal Government, with the latter recently floating plans to fund an online insurance comparison service for the region.

CGU CEO Peter Harmer says: “We understand and empathise with the needs and interests of our customers and North Queensland communities, and we are committed to addressing the concerns they have raised about insurance affordability.”

“Our project is an important step forward in addressing this issue. I note the Federal Government’s concerns about the cost of insurance in North Queensland. CGU is committed to working together with governments and communities to address this important issue.”

The CGU assessments will also advise property owners on repairs or modifications that could improve the resilience and risk ratings of their properties.

“To offset possible funding challenges, SUU has commenced discussions with a major financial institution to facilitate access to finance for body corporates wishing to make the recommended repairs,” a spokesman says.

The Insurance Council of Australia is working with James Cook University on a project to develop improved strata building assessment technologies, an initiative CGU may join with.

Want to know more? See our in-depth feature on strata across the nation.