Quash insurance taxes, says Assistant Treasurer

Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has called for mitigation to be prioritised and insurance taxes abolished in North Queensland, describing insurance affordability as a critical issue for the Federal Government.

“Insurance stamp duties are one of the most inefficient taxes in Australia,” he told the Insurance Council of Australia Regulatory Update last week.

“They are inefficient because they add to the cost of insurance and can lead to under-insurance or non-insurance. This leaves people more vulnerable in the event of loss.”

Frydenberg also spoke in more detail about the Federal Government’s strategies for directly tackling insurance woes in North Queensland, including promising to consult with the insurance industry on the planned clarification to laws surrounding the use of unauthorised foreign insurers.

“I am very conscious of the potential risks that could arise from this policy if not properly implemented and will consult carefully with the industry,” he said.

Frydenberg also flagged that the ASIC-run insurance comparison website for home and contents policies in North Queensland will be up and running this month.

“I recognise the website has raised some industry concerns; for example, some are wary that it may place undue emphasis on prices over policy features,” he said.

“ASIC is committed to addressing these issues, as am I. Following the website’s commencement in March, ASIC will continue to consult closely with insurers and the Insurance Council on the collection of data, and its publication.”

Frydenberg also called for more action from the insurance industry on helping North Queenslanders deal with the cost of insurance.

“Industry has an important role to play in designing more flexible products to better meet the needs of North Queenslanders,” he said.

“It is better for individuals to have some insurance cover than none at all.

“A longer term solution to the issue of insurance affordability in North Queensland needs to be prioritising mitigation.

“This must include improvements to building standards which are the responsibility of state and local governments.”