On 25 May 2017, the Australian Government directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to conduct a wide-ranging inquiry into the supply of residential building (home), contents and strata insurance in northern Australia.
The inquiry, which commenced on 1 July 2017, will help to address concerns about insurance availability and affordability, promote more informed and more competitive insurance markets, and make a difference for consumers in northern Australia.
Today, the ACCC has released its Northern Australia Insurance Inquiry first interim report. You can access the report here.
The report sets out our findings about the operation of markets for home, contents and strata insurance in northern Australia. We also set out measures that could be taken to begin to address the problems we identified.
The report also outlines focus areas for the next stage of our inquiry. The key focus in 2019 will be to explore what further measures could be considered to improve the affordability and availability of insurance in northern Australia.
The report invites submissions on draft recommendations and we would welcome your participation in this consultation. Submissions are due on 12 April 2019.
A second interim report is due to the Treasurer on 30 November 2019 and a final report on 30 November 2020.
UOAQ encourages all our members to contribute in this important process:
- Make a submission;
- If you have friends / family who live in northen Australia, asking them to make a submission or respond to the online questionnaire as local consumers themselves.
- Spread the word to the other interested organisations and local communities.
Scope of inquiry
Matters to be considered by the inquiry shall include, but not be restricted to:
- pricing and availability of insurance to consumers in northern Australia
- key cost components of insurance pricing in northern Australia and how they have changed over time, particularly catastrophe risk
- terms and conditions on which insurance is supplied
- competitiveness of markets for insurance in northern Australia
- existence and extent of any barriers to entry, expansion and/or exit in the supply of insurance in northern Australia
- any impediments to consumer choice, including transaction costs, a lack of transparent information, or other factors
- identifying any regulatory issues, or market participant behaviour or practices that may not be supporting the development of competitive markets for insurance in northern Australia
- the profitability of insurers through time and the extent to which profits are, or are expected to be commensurate with risk.