Insurance bill jumped $6000: MP
BROKEN marriages, disintegrating families and trouble putting "tucker on the table" were the consequences of flood insurance bills increasing up to $6000 a year, a rural MP told parliament on Tuesday.
Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson took a hard line as he detailed how one constituent in Emerald had their insurance policy cost jump from $1500 to $7500 a year.
He vigorously defended the Central Highlands and Maranoa councils and their work towards flood mitigation.
Mr Johnson urged the Deputy Premier to convene a meeting with Suncorp Insurance, himself, Warrego MP Howard Hobbs and insurance industry representatives to "address these unfair anomalies that this company has levelled on the people of Emerald and Roma".
"These people have been absolutely kicked in the guts by the greatest leveller of the below-the-belt tactics you've ever seen in your life with Suncorp Insurance now saying they won't insure homes in the flood prone areas of Emerald and Roma," he said.
Mr Johnson quoted Suncorp affairs manager Marcus Taylor's comment about Emerald's long history of frequent flooding, then asking company to look at the records of other places such as Brisbane.
He said Suncorp had "turned their back" on the wealth-generating capacity of Queensland by their decisions in Emerald and Roma.
"Has Suncorp increased the premiums of those people (in Brisbane)? No, I don't think so," he said.
"They should be ashamed of the policy settlement they have made and one I ask them to immediately reverse.
"I have one constituent in Emerald whose policy has gone from $1500 a year to $7500 a year.
"When you work that out, that's $650 a month. And $650 a month will keep the tucker on the table for the family.
"It's going to drive more people out of this great area.
"To be blaming the Central Highlands Regional Council for not having a flood mitigation program, I find that absolutely laughable.
"That council has worked its hardest since 2008 to deal with flood mitigation issues."
Mr Johnson said CGU, NRMA and Alliance would not provide any flood cover in Emerald, nor renew existing policies, while RACQ and QBE had no flood product.
He said Suncorp and its subsidiaries were renewing policies but the prices were unreasonable.
"Please revisit this policy announcement straight away and show some compassion and care and understanding to these people who have been driven to oblivion by something they couldn't predict themselves," he said.
"Those people who take out the policies in good faith should be given the courtesy of having those polices honoured in good faith.
"We're seeing these people driven to destruction, marriages broken up, families disintegrating because of these corporate players who are more interested in the bottom line and share basis of their competitors and their shareholders.
"I ask the Deputy Premier take control of this situation."