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Heat on Suncorp over policy ban

Kidd St homes were among the worst flooded houses in the 2010-11 floods.
Kidd St homes were among the worst flooded houses in the 2010-11 floods.

THE Central Highlands Regional Council has returned fire at Suncorp as the fallout begins from this week's announcement no new home insurance policies would be sold in Emerald or Roma.

Mayor Peter Maguire said the insurance giant had left residents uninsured and unprotected, despite talks with the company since early April on flood mitigation processes being investigated and rolled out in town.

"I think they're discriminating against two rural bush communities - Emerald and Roma," Cr Maguire said.

"If Brisbane gets another flood this year, do you think Suncorp is going to stop insuring down there?

"Or if a town in North Queensland gets two cyclones in two years, are they going to stop insuring them?"

It is a question Cr Maguire asked on behalf of all Emerald residents, but one homeowner in particular believed he had the answer.

He said the insurance giant had pulled the plug on the two towns because the local councils hadn't completed enough flood mitigation measures - a claim Cr Maguire ardently denies.

"Have a look at the other towns like Charleville and St George," the homeowner said.

"They were flooded and worse than Emerald and Suncorp is still offering insurance there.

"That's because there have been levee banks installed and they've been proven to have worked."

Cr Maguire rejected the claim.

He said recommendations from the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry had been adopted and executed by the council.

"We've done lots of stuff - the C&R report is done, (the) temporary local planning instrument implement which was worked through with the Department of Energy and Resource Management and the Queensland Reconstruction Authority," he said.

"We've re-written to the State Government... about the need for some of these mitigation works to be done and the funding to be provided."

He said the floods inquiry identified the Clermont St drain for improvement to aid water flows through Morton Park, and was now being upgraded.

Cr Maguire said he asked Suncorp to clarify the $20,000 offer to assist the CHRC with flood studies, but intended to allocate the funds towards levee bank development.

RACQ Insurance announced it was working towards introducing flood coverage as standard in its household policies from July 1 this year.

Century 21 Vision licensee Di Hancock-Mills said investors covered by Westpac bank had raised no concerns about its policies, suggesting there was blanket flood coverage included as standard.

Ms Hancock-Mills called on the State Government to review the definition of flood for all companies, to ensure customers had competitive options.

"We should be able to get full flood insurance from everyone," she said.

"I don't care if it comes up the downpipe, from the sewerage or through the roof - water through the house is a flood."


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