MPs told not to interfere

THE boss of Queensland's main home insurer says the Govern- ment should not overreact to complaints about insurance company's response to summer's natural disasters.

Suncorp, which provides about 40 % of Queensland home insurance, has been praised for its flood response, but most other insurance companies haven't been viewed so favourably.

Insurance council of Australia chief executive Rob Whelan got a bad reception when he fronted flood victims in Ipswich this week.

Anger was sparked by Mr Whelan trying to explain the difference between flash-flooding and riverine flooding.

“Bullsh*t,” was Wulkuraka resident Ian Bush's simple response.

Simone Allard, from North Booval, one of Ipswich's worst-affected suburbs, said she believed she was covered for flash-flooding.

Scott French, from One Mile, who believed he was covered for all types of flood, spoke for many people in the room.

“I've got an eight-year-old daughter who wants to sleep in her bed – she can't. I've got a wife who wants to go home – she can't,” Mr French said.

However, Suncorp chief Patrick Snowball said government, media and community criticism of the insurance industry overlooked the contribution it made to the Australian economy. He warned the government against pursuing reforms to the insurance sector without considering the numbers.

“If governments or others decide to influence the way insurance companies price risks, or set up national schemes to operate in competition with insurance companies and reduce the incentive for households to self-insure, they will jeopardise the market,” Mr Snowball said.

“That is not only a serious issue for insurance companies and their stakeholders but a serious issue for the Australian economy.

“While I understand the apparent confusion and frustration associated with the lack of clarity about flood cover and policy wording, these have to be matters dealt with later.”

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