Independent Member for Cairns Rob Pyne has called on the Queensland state government to establish a state-owned insurance office to ease the increasingly unaffordable home insurance premiums in Queensland.
Queensland established the State Accident Insurance Office during World War I to provide mandatory workers’ compensation insurance. In 1917, it created a larger insurance body, the State Government Insurance Office (SGIO), which took over responsibility for workers’ compensation and added fire and general insurance, third party and life insurance. SGIO later expanded into car insurance, building society operations, superannuation and finance.
In March 1986, SGIO became Suncorp Insurance and Finance, an independent statutory authority, and it was fully privatised in 1997. Pyne said this has meant that workers and consumers are paying unaffordably high insurance premiums.
Cairns insurance broker Roger Ward, who claims some residents have been hit with premium rises of 800%, has revealed that the Liberal National Party and Labor have accepted massive political donations from the insurance industry. An article in the Cairns Post on March 6 listed more than $600,000 in political donations made by major insurance companies.
Pyne said: “This is another big issue that begs the question — are the big parties working for the people or the corporations who pay them?”
One of the regular complaints in the Far North, from residents and businesses alike is the heavy burden of excessive insurance costs.
Pyne said: “I have had people in my office in tears about the cost of insurance. People in body corporate units feel particularly discriminated against.
“This is a major election issue in the Far North. Should I be re-elected, I will table legislation establishing a Sate Insurance Office for Queensland.”