The Australian government has introduced new legislation in the form of the ARPC Cyclone Reinsurance Pool, and it’s something that strata property owners, particularly in Queensland, should take note of. This initiative aims to make insurance more accessible and affordable for those living in cyclone-prone areas. In this article, we’ll break down what the ARPC Cyclone Pool means for you and your strata property, as well as the potential benefits it brings.
What is the ARPC Cyclone Reinsurance Pool?
The ARPC Cyclone Reinsurance Pool is a government-backed initiative with a $10 billion guarantee. It was passed into legislation in March 2022 and is designed to have a positive, long-term impact on insurance for property owners in areas prone to cyclones. The key goal here is to provide affordable insurance coverage for strata properties and small businesses that face high risks of cyclone damage.
Who Needs to Participate?
Large insurance companies have until December 31, 2023, to reinsure all eligible cyclone risk with the ARPC. Smaller general insurers, those with total gross written premiums for household insurance below $300 million in the financial year before December 31, 2022, have until December 31, 2024, to transfer their portfolio to the ARPC. However, all insurers have the option to join the pool voluntarily starting from July 1, 2022.
The Benefits of the Cyclone Pool
You might wonder how the ARPC Cyclone Pool benefits you as a strata property owner. According to the ARPC, this pool is designed to lower insurance premiums for homes, including strata properties, and small businesses located in high-risk cyclone areas. While some have raised concerns about potential savings in the current inflationary market, the initiative’s aim remains clear – making insurance more affordable for you.
How Does the Cyclone Pool Work?
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) plays a pivotal role in determining what is covered by the cyclone pool. They report the start and end of a cyclone event to the ARPC, which then defines the claim period for the Pool. The ARPC covers named cyclones and any cyclone-related flood damage, including wind, rain, rainwater run-off, storm surge (if your existing policy covers it), and riverine flood caused by a cyclone.
It’s essential to note that for both CHU and FLEX strata policies, storm surge and similar coastal hazards are policy exclusions under the building section. Claims are admissible from the time the cyclone begins until 48 hours after it ends.
Impact on Strata Insurance Premiums
While the ARPC Cyclone Pool aims to lower insurance costs, it’s important to consider other factors affecting strata insurance premiums. Inflationary pressures and the rising costs of building materials continue to influence overall premiums. Insurers must still ensure that pricing is adequate for all natural perils, and premiums may also depend on factors such as claims history and reinsurance costs.
Strata property owners in cyclone-prone areas may see an immediate impact on their policy premiums.
How to Learn More
For more information about the ARPC Cyclone Pool and how it affects strata property owners in Queensland, you can visit the ARPC website.
This legislation is a significant step towards safeguarding strata properties and ensuring the well-being of residents in cyclone prone areas. While it may not immediately solve all insurance-related challenges, it’s a positive move in the right direction.
CHU Australia’s largest strata insurer joined the pool in July 2023 with its residential and commercial strata portfolios immediately included in the pool.
CHU’s CEO, Kimberley Jonsson, expressed support for measures that help property owners access more affordable insurance products.
“CHU understands the financial stress individual householders are under with rising inflation and cost of living pressures, and this is a positive step towards alleviating these pressures in some instances.”
Article supplied by CHU Underwriting Agencies
Disclaimer: CHU Underwriting Agencies Pty Ltd (ABN 18 001 580 070, AFS Licence No: 243261) acts under a binding authority as agent of the insurer QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFS Licence No: 239545). Terms, conditions, limits, deductibles and exclusions apply to the products referred to above. Any advice in this article is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision to acquire any product(s) or to continue to hold any product, we recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (‘PDS’), Financial Services Guide (‘FSG’) and the Target Market Determination (‘TMD’) which can either be viewed at www.chu.com.au or obtained by contacting CHU directly on 1300 361 263.