Disasters cause insurance hikes

STORM damage, flooding rains and other disasters are to blame for the massive spike in local insurance premiums.

Since last Saturday's story about an increase of almost 40% in Lance Rushby's house and contents insurance policy with NRMA Insurance, a rash of readers have come forward with similar stories.

Reports of rises of 25% were common, while one couple who made their first claim in many years in 2011 saw the quote for their insurance policy almost triple.

An NRMA Insurance spokesperson said that the rise was due to so many insurance payouts needing to be made in the recent past.

"Home insurers in Australia face the challenge of getting the balance right between keeping premiums affordable and collecting enough premium to cover our customers' claims when the worst happens," the NRMA Insurance spokesperson said.

"With the spate of major natural disasters in the region, we've seen rises in reinsurance costs, which has impacted premiums.

"We assess every customer's personal circumstances to ensure everyone pays a premium that reflects their risk to a variety of events."

NRMA Insurance was quick to point out that there are ways that customers can reduce the amount of insurance premium on their quotes.

"There are ways customers can reduce their premium, like increasing their excess and bundling policies with us to receive a Multi Policy Discount," the spokesperson said.

"Customers should contact us on 132 132 or visit their local office if they would like to discuss their options.

"In some cases, customers may have been identified as having a flood risk and are seeing increases in their premiums. Customers can remove flood cover from their policy and reduce their premium if they wish."



Customers have been complaining of house and contents insurance premiums rising generally between 25% and 45% on last year's cost.