North Queenslanders save hundreds a year on home insurance


Feature

North Queensland homeowners who invested in strengthening their older roofs against cyclones are saving hundreds of dollars a year on insurance.

New analysis from leading insurer Suncorp shows almost 3,000 homeowners who qualified for the highest level of its Cyclone Resilience Benefit had upgraded their pre-1980s roofs and were, on average, saving more than $300 a year, while those receiving smaller premium reductions had done minor improvements to newer homes.  

Julian Benton, Suncorp’s Head of Consumer, said the insurer was encouraging customers with pre-1980s homes to invest in mitigation because they were the most at risk.

“Not only are these homeowners at the highest risk of being impacted by cyclones, they have the biggest opportunity to save on the cost of home insurance,” Mr Benton said. 

“Investing in upgrading older roofs, including cladding, sarking and connections, is hands down the best way to make these homes safer, as well as saving a significant amount of money. 

“Other important mitigation activities include ensuring free standing sheds are cyclone rated and anchored to a concrete slab, and installing shutters on all external windows. More minor improvements include installing keyed locks on windows and bracing roller doors, and creating a cyclone checklist that includes securing outdoor items.”

Suncorp launched its Cyclone Resilience Benefit in 2016, with more than 40,000 north Queensland customers now receiving insurance premium reductions of up to 20 per cent for making their homes more cyclone resilient.

It has never been easier for residents to make their homes safer, with the Queensland Government’s Household Resilience Program also available to fund 75 per cent of the costs required to improve the cyclone resilience of pre-1980s buildings, up to a maximum payment of $11,250. 

“Suncorp also offers a no-fee, low interest rate personal loan, designed to help finance the costs of mitigation improvements. Customers can apply in-store or over the phone,” Mr Benton said.

“This isn’t just about cheaper insurance in north Queensland – it’s about providing peace of mind for home owners and reducing the destruction and heartache caused by cyclones.”

Top north QLD Savers*Highest level Cyclone Resilience Benefit - Average Annual Reduction
Ingham$377
Townsville $348
Proserpine and offshore islands $324
Cairns$310
Mackay $229

*Minimum 100 customers


About Suncorp’s Protecting the North 

In 2015 Suncorp launched Protecting the North, a major insurance and safety package for North Queensland. At the heart of the policy program are practical solutions to tackle insurance affordability by reducing cyclone risk and rewarding mitigation activities that strengthen homes and communities.

Existing Initiatives

  • Cyclone Resilience Benefit (CRB): In March 2016, Suncorp Insurance launched the CRB which rewards customers in North Queensland with premium reductions of up to 20 per cent for making their homes more cyclone resilient. This initiative was developed using extensive claims analysis and research in partnership with the Cyclone Testing Station (CTS) at James Cook University (JCU).
  • Strata: In April 2015, Suncorp released a new strata insurance product into the market. The product is designed to provide cover for small residential strata titled properties, community titled properties or residential properties associated with a body corporate or owner’s corporation (up to 10 units or $5 million sum insured). 
  • Resilience Improvements: The strata insurance product contains an industry-first resilience feature which supports customers to enhance their building’s resilience. 
  • Low income Insurance: In September 2015, Suncorp teamed up with Good Shepherd Microfinance to roll out an insurance product that provides low-income earners with contents and motor cover from as little as $4 a week. The award-winning Essentials was created to provide better access to affordable, easy-to-understand products via a trusted network of providers. 
  • Protecting the North Bank Loan: Suncorp now provides a no-fee, low-interest bank loan designed to help North Queensland customers finance mitigation improvements made to their homes to make them more resilient to cyclone damage. The new low-cost personal loan features an interest rate of 4.99 per cent per annum and Suncorp waives all establishment and account keeping fees. 
  • Cyclone Ready Streets: Suncorp initiated the Cyclone Ready Streets program to raise awareness and promote behavioural change toward improved community preparedness for cyclones. working with experts to design a possible retrofit program to strengthen older North Queensland homes against cyclone impacts which could also deliver significant insurance savings, subject to further analysis.