Queried over insane premiums, Insurance Council passes buck

INUNDATED: Floodwater isolated the town of Coraki.
INUNDATED: Floodwater isolated the town of Coraki. Cathy Adams

THE Insurance Council of Australia is calling on Richmond River County Council to share its flood data after widespread criticism about soaring flood premiums.

But council floodplain service manager Michael Wood said detailed flood data had long been readily available and regularly provided to insurance companies and the Insurance Council.

"We totally refute it," Mr Wood said.

"We've got the biggest flood map on the New South Wales coast and there's a wealth of data there.

"The data is all freely available. Under the government information provision act we put everything on the website, and so does Ballina, Richmond Valley, and Lismore (councils)."

The Insurance Council's comments were in response to questions from The Northern Star about why some Northern Rivers residents had skyrocketing flood insurance premiums, despite council data showing their homes are well out of any flood-affected areas.

"The Insurance Council of Australia calls on Richmond River County Council to share all its hazard information, including flood data, with the ICA for inclusion in its National Flood Information Database," a spokesperson said.

"NFID co-ordinates this type of flood data from state and local governments, and makes the information available to insurers who then use it to determine risks at the individual property level.

"The ICA recognises that local governments, such as Richmond River County Council, have better flood data and maintain its currency."

Yesterday, The Northern Star reported on Whiporie resident Dianne Daniel, whose Allianz flood insurance premiums have increased from $21.80 to $14,584.92 in just two years, despite her home being well out of flood reach.

Mr Wood said it was an all-too common occurrence.

"We keep on getting this thing happening on a reasonably regular basis where people aren't in flood areas and their premiums have been escalated through the roofs," he said.

"Clearly they have to refine their development of premiums."

Allianz spokesperson Nicholas Scofield said the insurance company's information is regularly updated based on the NFID data, claim histories and commissioned third-party reports.

"We did a major review around the middle of the year which resulted in changed flood risk assessments to some customers and that included increases in some areas and decreases in others," Mr Scofield said.

"Council flood information varies in its quality quite dramatically ... we also need to rely on external sources," he said.

Topics:  flood insurance floods insurance council of australia richmond river county council

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