Qld homeowners rewarded

A major insurer’s north Queensland customers can now be rewarded with premium reductions of up to 20% for strengthening their homes against cyclones.

Suncorp’s Cyclone Resilience Benefit is now available in Rockhampton and further north in communities along the Queensland coast, including Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.

Launching the initiative as part of its Protecting the North campaign , Suncorp CEO Anthony Day says customers in these cyclone-prone areas can now report certain improvements made to their homes, over the phone or online, and expect a premium reduction.

“The level of reduction will vary,” Day says.

“For a pre-1980s home in an area assessed as having the highest cyclone risk we could see some reductions of up to $600 off a $3000 Suncorp premium, if the owner has undertaken the full range of improvements such as fixing old roofs and covering windows.”

“Suncorp Bank is also helping eligible customers, offering them reduced-rate personal loans to carry out the upgrades.”

With insurers rewarding cyclone-resilient homes, Day says there is an opportunity for government to sponsor a targeted home retrofit program that would help create jobs and make the economy more resilient.

“Prevention is always better than cure, and mitigation is better than rebuilding and recovering,” Day says.

“More mitigation would help drive great community benefits like keeping people safe, creating jobs and growing the economy.”

Days says for every dollar spent on low-cost retrofits, the community will save up to $13, while some low-cost retrofits will even pay for themselves after only one category-four cyclone.

“There’s a growing chorus of inquiries calling for a greater mitigation effort and we should be acting now rather than waiting for another cyclone to hit,” he says.

“That way, we can start reducing now the $10 billion annual damage bill that natural disasters are expected to cost Australia by 2023.”