Insurers "having a lend" with soaring premiums, MP says

SINCE The Northern Star published an article on November 21 about Evans Head resident Steve Cselka, whose flood premiums have increased more than $4500 this year - despite council data showing his home is not in a flood-affected area - we have been inundated with similar stories.

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said insurance companies appeared to be ignoring local government data.

"I know from being firstly a surveyor, and secondly a mayor and councillor, that those flood studies are in fact very accurate and can be regarded as being the most up to date information," he said.

"They (the insurance companies) rely on the information that councils provide.

"So I think they're really just having a lend and I think it's disgraceful."

In September last year, the Tweed Daily News reported the entire Tweed Shire had been incorrectly ruled to be a high flood risk.

The "blunder" was revealed by Tweed council acting general manager Troy Green at business meeting after Councillor Phil Youngblutt and Lismore MP Thomas George raised the alarm about the ICA's inaccurate modelling of the Tweed.

"What we learnt was the Insurance Council of Australia had put a blanket high risk across the shire," Mr Green said.

When asked if a similar thing could have happened in the Richmond Valley council area, an ICA spokesperson said there was "no such thing" as a blanket ban.

Lismore MP Thomas George said increasing flood premiums was an issue that affected many councils.

"It's not only the Richmond Valley Council, it's across all councils," he said.

"I've been wanting the Insurance Council to come and try to explain this increase.

"There's been an increase in a lot of circumstances and for where some of the people live, it's just been very hard to explain."

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said her council met with the ICA about a year ago.

"They said that whatever more accurate data we had, that they would welcome it," she said.

"We had residents saying 'my family has lived here for six generations and we've never seen a flood."



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