Mackay region residents have voiced their thoughts on the ACCC's probe into insurance affordability for North Queenslanders. Pictures: Heidi Petith
Mackay region residents have voiced their thoughts on the ACCC's probe into insurance affordability for North Queenslanders. Pictures: Heidi Petith

‘I think it’s terrible. Why are we paying twice as much?’

Mackay residents have disagreed with a three-year probe finding insurance companies were not ripping off North Queensland residents.

The ACCC recently handed down its findings including 38 recommendations to help make insurance more affordable for northern Australians.

The report found insurers were charging Mackay and Whitsunday homeowners premiums at twice the national average to make up for formerly “massively underpricing”.

Read more: ACCC releases three-year probe into NQ insurance affordability

Seaforth resident Tracey Hocking speaking about the ACCC's report into insurance affordability for North Queenslanders on Friday December 8, 2020. Picture: Heidi Petith
Seaforth resident Tracey Hocking speaking about the ACCC's report into insurance affordability for North Queenslanders on Friday December 8, 2020. Picture: Heidi Petith

Seaforth resident Tracey Hocking said she approved of the ACCC’s suggestion for the government to subsidise North Queensland insurance customers.

But she said insurers were certainly price gouging.

“I think it’s terrible,” Mrs Hocking said.

“Why is it we have to pay twice as much as everyone else when our southeast cousins have regular hail storms and floods and they’re not charged likewise?

“I’ve lived in Seaforth for 30 years and only two cyclones have been damaging enough for insurance claims.

“Mainly, they’ve uprooted trees and we’ve cleaned that up ourselves.”

Mrs Hocking also supported the ACCC’s recommendation to standardise coverage to clarify what would be covered in flooding events.

Rural View resident Karmann Allen speaking about the ACCC's report into insurance affordability for North Queenslanders on Friday December 8, 2020. Picture: Heidi Petith
Rural View resident Karmann Allen speaking about the ACCC's report into insurance affordability for North Queenslanders on Friday December 8, 2020. Picture: Heidi Petith

Rural View resident Karmann Allen was likewise supportive of introducing subsidies of up to 50 per cent for North Queenslanders.

“I think if we’re paying double the price, we should be getting the 50 per cent discount,” Ms Allen said.

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But fellow Rural View resident Virginia O’Shanassy said insurance prices were already reasonable despite her premium having risen by about $250 per year.

Rural View resident Virginia O'Shanassy speaking about the ACCC's report into insurance affordability for North Queenslanders on Friday December 8, 2020. Picture: Heidi Petith
Rural View resident Virginia O'Shanassy speaking about the ACCC's report into insurance affordability for North Queenslanders on Friday December 8, 2020. Picture: Heidi Petith

“You have to be wise when choosing a place to live,” Mrs O’Shanassy said.

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Blacks Beach dad Adam Joyce said his insurance premium had doubled in the space of 12 months spurring his family to swap insurers.

“I think it’s price gouging,” Mr Joyce said.

Blacks Beach resident Adam Joyce speaking about the ACCC's report into insurance affordability for North Queenslanders on Friday December 8, 2020. Picture: Heidi Petith
Blacks Beach resident Adam Joyce speaking about the ACCC's report into insurance affordability for North Queenslanders on Friday December 8, 2020. Picture: Heidi Petith

Bucasia resident Betty Bartel said she was surprised the ACCC had cleared insurers of price-gouging allegations.

“(Insurance) goes up every year,” Ms Bartel said.

“We seem to get charged ridiculous amounts of money and we’ve never had a claim, yet in places like Sydney and Brisbane, they have storms all the time.

“I think we pay more because of what’s happening down there.

“One year, I think it (Suncorp) went up by about $800 but if you do phone them, they will bring it down.”

Ms Bartel said insurers were putting the onus on customers to chase a better deal.


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