Insurers to lecture extreme weather councils

By Julian Bajkowski

Ratepayers and policy holders confused and fed-up with how insurers set premiums for and pay-out on extreme weather events will get the opportunity to roast one of the industry’s leading executives at a courageous public event organised by Lake Macquarie City Council.

The forward-thinking local government area has booked the Insurance Council of Australia’s director of policy, risk and disaster planning, Karl Sullivan, to front a public lecture and forum as part of efforts to clarify the relationship between the industry, council and ratepayers.

Mr Sullivan is booked to face the music from local residents on Wednesday 13th March.

The move to get insurance leaders to front public meetings and lectures comes as the industry tries to quell a groundswell of public hostility and attacks from parliamentarians over the high price and questionable value of policies in the wake of repeated extreme weather events.

A big criticism of insurers is that despite spending up big on advertising, many policy holders and customers remain confused about what they are actually covered for and under what circumstances.

At the same time consumer groups have hit out at the way insurers apply flood levies to policies in geographic areas without necessarily first assessing the actual risk of properties being inundated – like those atop hills.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Sustainability, Alice Howe, is hoping the local community will benefit from hearing the information first hand at a public lecture.

“With the recent extreme weather events across many parts of Australia and around the world, it is timely for Council to host a presentation regarding insurance premiums and the impact extreme weather can have on policies and claims,” Dr Howe said.

“Mr Sullivan brings a wealth of knowledge of Australia’s insurance industry and will be discussing various aspects of how people can better understand their insurance policies and what they can do to minimise the impact of insurance on their pocket.”

So far Mr Sullivan is looking forward to the event.

“Community members often have valid questions about how insurance works and what needs to change in order to have sustainable insurance premiums into the future,” Mr Sullivan said.

“Forums like this are a useful exercise where community members can ask those questions."

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