NEIL Whitworth is paying about $6000 a year for insurance despite the fact his home is "built like a bomb shelter".
But the Andergrove resident hopes a reduction in premiums for cyclone-proofed homes announced by Suncorp Insurance yesterday will set a precedent that filters through to all insurance companies operating in north Queensland and deliver much-needed respite from the escalating cost.
Despite having taken measures to cyclone-proof his 1978 home, in five years his annual insurance premium has jumped from $2900 a year to $6000.
"(The premium) has really shot up since the 2008 floods. It's skyrocketed," Mr Whitworth said.
"It's pretty well our biggest expenditure."
Under Suncorp Insurance's new policy, houses north of Rockhampton and within 100km of the coast will be eligible for up to a 20% premium reduction if they are cyclone-proofed.
The level of reduction would vary, but Suncorp Insurance's chief executive officer Anthony Day said houses built before 1980 were in for the biggest savings.
He said Suncorp Bank was also offering reduced-rate personal loans to carry out the upgrades.
Mr Day encourages clients who have made improvements to their homes to report it online or by phone to Suncorp and expect a reduction.
Despite community claims premiums spiked following the 2011 Brisbane area floods, Mr Day said disasters in other parts of the country would have "very little impact on Mackay".
The change is something Mackay Together Buyers Group has campaigned towards for 12 months.
But organiser Ross Gee believed insurers still needed to do more to reduce their premiums.
"They need to acknowledge we have built houses stronger and the flood zones they put forward aren't as broad as they think they are," Mr Gee said.
"This change is a good step, but it's not enough."
RACQ Insurance announced a similar policy on February 16.
At the time RACQ executive manager Insurance Communications Mike Sopinski said it was time north Queenslanders received recognition for strengthening their homes.
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