News

Suncorp defends ban in Emerald

Emerald Saleyards became a dumping ground for flood-affected home furnishings. Roadtrains transported the waste to a Tieri landfill.
Emerald Saleyards became a dumping ground for flood-affected home furnishings. Roadtrains transported the waste to a Tieri landfill. contributed

A BATTLE is brewing between the Central Highlands Regional Council and insurance giant Suncorp after this week's stunning announcement Emerald was subject to a blanket ban on new policies.

Effective immediately, the embargo means no resident is able to take a new policy, even if they are buying a home well outside the 2010/11 flood map zone, and existing customers are unable to transfer their policy between homes.

Suncorp corporate affairs manager Marcus Taylor defended the move on the grounds it wanted to keep premiums affordable, and argued the risk involved in insuring residents was too high.

Mr Taylor said the CHRC wasn't doing enough in terms of flood mitigation measures, despite millions of dollars spent on flood mapping, mitigation possibilities and enforcing new building approvals which demand houses be built 600mm above the highest flood level of the last event.

But local market analyst John Kirby believed Suncorp was simply doing "good business" in pulling the plug and said the company's reinsurer was to blame.

"The increases on this year's reinsurance went from about three to 8%," Mr Kirby said.

"There's only a small field of reinsurers, and they can cover 10% of the net earned premiums.

"The floods last year delivered about a 15% blow-out, but they're insurance companies and a business, and that's all about risk."

Mr Kirby said of the $200 million figure Suncorp stated it paid out to cover Emerald customers, the total outlay was about $10 million - the rest was covered by their reinsurer.

"This is all on their website. You can see what the figures are," he said.

"Have the reinsurers singled out Emerald and Roma?... The statistical occasion hasn't changed, and if the statistical and actuarial data has remained the same - which it has - what has changed with their reinsurer?"

The Central Queensland News took the questions to Mr Taylor who downplayed Suncorp's reinsurer role in abandoning Emerald, and instead levelled criticisms at the CHRC saying it hadn't done enough to floodproof the town.

To date, the CHRC has completed more than $1 million in flood studies, instigated before the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry handed down its recommendations all flood-affected councils should do so.

Mr Taylor said Emerald had a long history of frequent flooding, but records showed the 2008 and 2010/11 floods to be the latest since 1990.

Suncorp didn't incorporate flood insurance as standard until after intense media pressure following the 2008 disaster, therefore the company paid out minimal claims.

"The reality is we want to insure Emerald but things need to be addressed," Mr Taylor said, listing levee banks, weir heights and the Fairbairn Dam management as well as a review of building approvals as the major items the CHRC must investigate.

"All we ask is to see a plan."

Mr Taylor said it was a temporary embargo and confirmed the information on flood mapping and potential mitigation measures CHRC Mayor Peter Maguire sent on Tuesday had been received on Wednesday.


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Emerald scores five-run Twenty20 victory

PITCHING IN: The Emerald Brothers and Redlands Tigers teams inspect the pitch before their two games at the weekend.

The Emerald Brothers cricket side took victory in the Twenty20.

Sharing hope in the community

GET INVOLVED: Caitlin Hills, Kayleen Steedman, Scott Mason, Val Sypher, Kerry Hayes and Lisa Conway prepare for the weekend's Relay for Life event.

The Central Highlands Relay for Life kicks off Saturday afternoon.

Race day with a doggie difference

LOW RIDERS: The annual dachshund race at the Middlemount Race Day.

Race day with a doggy difference

Latest deals and offers

CQ hairdressers targeted in crackdown on under paid staff

HAIR and beauty services, accommodation and earthmoving operations have been a strong focus of a major crackdown on business underpaying staff across CQ

The rains are here! Downpours to wash away monthly totals

Heavy rains predicted tomorrow and Wednesday

Junior teams prepare for grand final battle

PLAY HARD, PLAY FAIR: Emerald Brothers Junior Rugby League players Jaidyn Cody, Lachlan Ware and Patrick Whipp go in for a tackle in the U11 game against Dysart.

The Emerald Brothers is aiming to win all four junior grand finals.

Emerald scores five-run Twenty20 victory

PITCHING IN: The Emerald Brothers and Redlands Tigers teams inspect the pitch before their two games at the weekend.

The Emerald Brothers cricket side took victory in the Twenty20.

SHOCKING SLAP: Red mark alerts police to toddler abuse

Generic Rockhampton Court.   Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin

The doctor also checked the girl's breathing as a precaution.

Sharing hope in the community

GET INVOLVED: Caitlin Hills, Kayleen Steedman, Scott Mason, Val Sypher, Kerry Hayes and Lisa Conway prepare for the weekend's Relay for Life event.

The Central Highlands Relay for Life kicks off Saturday afternoon.

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Zumbo's Just Desserts serves up magical dishes

Gigi Falanga, left, joins hosts Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo on the TV series Zumbo's Just Desserts.

ADRIANO Zumbo’s decadent creations have become prime-time viewing.

Sir Cliff Richard feels 'best' after sex abuse allegations

Sir Cliff Richard is 'back' to his best after sex abuse claims

Blac Chyna sued after car injured 2 women

Blac Chyna is being sued after her friend crashed into another car

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Marvel-ous: Thor actors visit sick kids at Lady Cilento

Stars of Thor: Ragnarok dropped in on patients at the hospital

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.