‘Pass the Cyclone Reinsurance Bill’: Senate Inquiry

A Senate inquiry into the cyclone reinsurance pool has recommended that the federal parliament pass the legislation, despite reported shortcomings in its scope and doubts about the level of savings that will be realized.

A report delivered today says the committee is ‘convinced by the evidence from the Treasury’ on the comprehensive data analysis that underpins the design of the pool and that there was strong support in the submissions to pass the scheme of law.

“Given the many reviews and inquiries over recent years which support the action taken, the committee strongly believes that the establishment of the Reinsurance Pool is crucial to ensuring that Australians in cyclone-prone areas have access to affordable insurance,” indicates the report. said.

“The need to act now is vital. The 12-month reviews and subsequent reviews provide the opportunity to make adjustments. »

The legislation has already passed the House of Representatives, while the Senate will resume sitting next week.

In additional comments, Labor senators on the committee support the pool, but recall extending the proposed period for related damages from 48 hours to seven days and also say the government should release the modeling and spend more on mitigation. disasters.

Liberal NSW Senator Andrew Bragg also points to the need for mitigation and adaptation and says the scheme “poses risks which require vigilant monitoring”.

“I therefore commend the government for its commitment to undertake a review of the reinsurance pool just 12 months after the implementation of the bill to ensure that the targeted direction of the scheme is maintained and that any appropriate changes can be made. provided in a timely manner,” he said.

Greens Senator Nick McKim said the party will seek amendments to immediately expand its scope to include all flood damage to residential properties and small businesses, allowing those affected by recent flooding in Queensland and NSW to be included. It also says motor vehicles should be added to the coverage.

Senator McKim also proposes that the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation’s statutory review specifically consider expanding the scope of covered damage to include all damage to residential property and small businesses resulting from climatic events.

The money needed to establish and maintain the reinsurance pool should be backed by taxation of entities extracting and burning fossil fuels, he says.

The Senate committee inquiry held a hearing earlier this month when groups appearing included the Insurance Council of Australia, the Insurance Lobby of North Australia, the Treasury and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. The committee also posted 22 briefs on its website.

The report is available here.

Norman D. Briggs