Sun shines on tropical strata market

A specialist underwriter has received a warm welcome in northern Australia after entering the fraught strata insurance market in the region.

Brooklyn Underwriting last week launched its Tropical Strata product, covering commercial or residential clients for up to $15 million in any part of Australia above the 26th parallel.

The launch comes amid speculation of government intervention in the North Queensland insurance market, which has been affected by low competition and high premiums in recent years.

Brooklyn Underwriting Manager David Porteous says the product is the product of two years of work with capital providers at Lloyd’s of London.

“What niche agencies like Brooklyn do is find a segment of the market in distress and we can bring a certain science or a different approach to that segment and the whole aim being a solution for brokers and their clients,” he says.

“I think North Queensland property and strata in particular has probably been the headline area of a market in distress, which is why we’ve sought to look at it in a different way.

“There’s been an incredible response, to be honest. I think I underestimated how well-received this would be by everyone from the Federal Member for Cairns right through to insurance brokers and even end-clients.”

As part of underwriting process, Brooklyn is offering risk engineering and property management expertise for all accepted buildings.

“Where we’re presented with a property that doesn’t come with an engineering report and we’re satisfied that it’s well-constructed and well-managed, we’re happy to insure those clients but then in time we’ll work with the insurance brokers and the clients and get an engineer out there and have a look around,” Porteous says.

He says although the market for North Queensland strata came close to failure in recent years it had now stabilised.

“With our entrance into the market and hopefully some others, it’s a step further away from that crisis point that there was two or three years ago.”