Should the federal government step in to keep insurance affordable after the floods?

As communities look to rebuild from the devastating floods many are concerned they will no longer be able to afford insurance, with calls for the federal government to step in and help.

When dairy farmer Paul Weir met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday, he raised insurance as his number one issue.

“I’d be absolutely silly to actually spend any money from the insurance I get now, back into this business, if I’ve got no certainty that the next flood isn’t going to take us out,” he said.

“We’ve seen insurance right across the country, but certainly here on the north coast, go up considerably over the last five years. Where’s it going to pan out?”

It’s a problem resident in northern Australia already face, with insurance premiums soaring over the past decade following extreme cyclones.

Around 20 per cent of properties there are uninsured, compared to just 10 per cent in the rest of Australia.

That’s prompted the federal government to introduce a $ 10 billion cyclone reinsurance pool for northern Australia. It would effectively insure the insurance companies against any huge losses if they offer disaster cover.

Paul Weir on his dairy farm before the floods.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

The legislation has passed the House of Representatives and is currently before the Senate, with just two sitting days left the coalition is hoping it’s one of the final pieces of legislation before an election is called.

But there are calls now to expand the scheme to include all flood disasters, too, with the Greens announcing on Thursday that they’ll move an amendment when parliament sits.

“The government is fixing part of the problem by saying that they will step in and underwrite it, where the floods are cyclone related,” Greens leader Adam Bandt said.

“But as we’re seeing from the devastating floods, climate change is fueling floods that aren’t cyclone related. Those people are going to be left out and won’t be able to get insurance.”

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