Wednesday, 17 October 2018 Sydney
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Issues paper for northern Australia insurance inquiry::

The ACCC has today released an issues paper for its inquiry into the supply of residential building, contents, and strata insurance in northern Australia. The Australian Government directed the ACCC to undertake a wide-ranging inquiry due to concerns about affordability and availability of insurance in the region.

The ACCC will be hosting a series of public forums so consumers can share their concerns directly with the ACCC. The forums will be held in November and December this year in Townsville, Cairns, Darwin, Alice Springs, Karratha, Broome, Rockhampton, and Mackay.

“These forums will allow us to hear directly from people in northern Australia about their experiences of the insurance market,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“The ACCC is investigating why insurance premiums have increased substantially in northern Australia over the past few years. Our Inquiry aims to identify the barriers that prevent consumers from accessing affordable, appropriate, and comprehensive insurance.”

“As a formal inquiry, we will use our compulsory information gathering powers to access information directly from insurers. This is something other inquiries have not been able to do. We are also seeking consumer and industry input on price, policy coverage, and any barriers to consumers getting a better deal,” Ms Rickard said.

The ACCC is seeking feedback from interested stakeholders on a range of issues, including:

  • Insurance pricing, the key cost components of insurance, and insurer profitability
  • The competitiveness of markets for insurance in northern Australia
  • How consumers interact with insurance markets including any barriers to consumers making well informed choices
  • Other regulatory issues relevant to the insurance industry
  • The role that mitigation can play in improving affordability.

There is a short version of the issues paper covering the content most relevant to consumers. Consumers can respond to the short version online. The full issues paper, short version, and information about the public forums is available at: Northern Australia insurance inquiry.

Submissions are due on 21 December 2017 and can be emailed to insurance@accc.gov.au(link sends e-mail).

Background

The ACCC must submit reports to the Treasurer by 30 November 2018 and 30 November 2019. The inquiry is to be completed and a final report submitted to the Treasurer by 30 November 2020.

On 25 May 2017, the Treasurer issued a notice requiring the ACCC to conduct a wide-ranging inquiry into the supply of residential building, contents and strata insurance in northern Australia.

The area covered broadly corresponds with the Northern Territory, those parts of Western Australia and Queensland that are north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and some areas just south of the tropic, including Carnarvon and Gladstone.

The inquiry will support transparency and the efficient operation of markets for residential building, contents and strata insurance in northern Australia, including through the monitoring of the industry for a period of three years.

The ACCC public forums will be held in:

  • Townsville - Wednesday, 15 November, Hotel Grand Chancellor, 5:30pm
  • Cairns - Thursday, 16 November, Rydges Plaza Cairns, 5:30pm
  • Darwin - Wednesday, 22 November, Oaks Elan Darwin, 5:30pm
  • Alice Springs - Thursday, 23 November, Aurora Alice Springs, 5:30pm
  • Broome - Wednesday, 29 November, Oaks Broome, 5:30pm
  • Karratha - Thursday, 30 November, Ibis Styles Karratha, 5:30pm
  • Rockhampton - Tuesday, 5 December, Travel Lodge Hotel, 5:30pm
  • Mackay - Wednesday, 6 December, Quest Mackay, 5:30pm