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INMAG FEB 2015_page layouts 18/02/2015 1:18 pm Page 82

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Sam Pentecost Contributor

Dear son, Greetings from Duck Flats, where all is calm for a change – no cyclones in sight yet, no floods and no drought. What makes it so doubly peaceful is the fact that your father isn’t here, so the livestock is enjoying a break from him chasing them all over the place on his motorbike. Ever since he got elected to the Federal Parliament your father has been a changed man. He changes his socks every week without prompting, and he wears a suit when he’s down in Canberra. He bought one off Laurie at the funeral parlour in town, who usually has a few spare suits hanging around. You would be very proud of your father. He’s doing great things for north Queensland down in Canberra, and of course with his experience of insurance companies through all the floods and cyclones and hailstorms we've experienced here at Duck Flats he’s been a wellspring of knowledge for his new friend the Minister of Finance. Your father comes back from Canberra every Friday and spends the first evening home telling me all about the goings-on. He says being on the backbench is more fun than that time we found a saltie lurking in the cattle-dip. His greatest passion in politics at present is this insurance affordability business, and he says he won’t rest until it’s all sorted out. It seems the insurance companies are charging a lot more money for people in north Queensland who want to insure their homes against cyclones and things. The insurance people, who of course all hail from Down South, say we have too many cyclones up here and buildings get terribly damaged and then they have to rebuild them and that’s why they’re charging so much. Well, that’s just plain silly, don’t you think? If you live in north Queensland you’re going to get cyclones every now and again, and that’s what you buy an insurance policy for. Your father says there’s not a lot of point in having insurance unless they rebuild your house every few years. He doesn’t see why insurance companies aren’t happy about that, when they’re getting so much work out of it. Because policies are so expensive people aren’t buying them, and that means they might have to pay for a new house themselves unless the Government does it for them because they’re homeless. It’s very complicated. Anyway, your father and the minister have come up with a couple of new ideas to make insurance policies cheaper, and I must say I am really impressed with their cunning and ingenuity. Your father says if the Australian insurance companies won’t give us insurance, we’ll get it from foreign insurers that charge much less for the same thing. Your father says it’s because the foreign companies don't have to pay for all the regulations and taxes and employment expenses and other things that the local insurance companies do. That’ll teach them! So clever! And we’re also going to have an online comparison site, which is really exciting, because I’ve read about them. The speed of the internet out here at Duck Flats isn’t much faster than the postman, but your father says we will be able to use the website to obtain all the details about what the insurance companies charge, and then we can call them on the phone so they give us quotes. But wait on. (I’ve baked some scones between “quotes” and “but wait on”, so I could think this through.) If the Australian companies are too expensive, why are we going to all the trouble of putting them together on a website so we can see how unaffordable they are? And why aren’t the foreign companies on it as well, so we can compare? And if the foreign insurance companies are prepared to charge less than the Australian insurance companies to do the same thing, how can we be sure they really will be there when we need a new house, and who do we complain to if they do a runner? And why would they want to insure a house up here when they could insure houses Down South that don't blow away so often? I must talk to your father about all this. There are obviously some aspects I don't understand. He gets impatient with me and all my questions. He says I just don't understand the political imperatives, whatever that means. I should ask less and just let him get on with it. Our federal parliamentarians are the cream of the country, after all – the very smartest people. Much love, Mum

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February/March 2015

Profile for Insurance News (the magazine)

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The next year is shaping up to be one of the most challenging for insurers and brokers, as investment income and premium rates plummet. The...

FEB/MAR 2015 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

The next year is shaping up to be one of the most challenging for insurers and brokers, as investment income and premium rates plummet. The...