Strata resilience effort brings results

A major insurer’s attempt to ease strata premium pressures in north Queensland is earning some big plaudits and shrinking premiums.

CGU was highly commended at the Resilient Australia Awards in Townsville last week for its continuing work to fund building risk assessments of the residential strata properties it and its subsidiary Strata Unit Underwriters (SUU) insure in North Queensland.

Since the program began in April, the project has reduced premiums for more than 3000 customers. The average reduction in premium has been been $200, or 11%, although individual reductions have been as high as 29%.

The inspections cover the buildings’ exposures and resilience to cyclone-related hazards, as well as make recommendations on how to improve the buildings’ risk ratings.

SUU Managing Director Brad Robson says he delighted to have implemented a project that is making a difference.

Meanwhile, Suncorp has announced it is partnering with James Cook University (JCU) to undertake an ambitious research project also aimed at improving the cyclone resilience of north Queensland homes.

A team of structural engineers from the university’s Cyclone Testing Station will examine more than 24,000 insurance claims from Cyclones Larry and Yasi.

Station Director David Henderson says the study will provide valuable information about what makes a home more resilient to cyclones.

“Along with the age of properties, the shape, orientation, construction form, building type, roof type and attachments at the properties will also be considered,” he says.

“This will help us form a clear picture of what differentiates cyclone resilient housing stock from less resilient homes so we can investigate cost-effective ways of improving them.”

Suncorp Personal Insurance CEO Mark Milliner says in order to help north Queenslanders it is essential that insurers, governments and communities work together.

Findings from the research are expected to be reported next year.