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Insurance poses more question than answers

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A GRAFTON woman seeking affordable home insurance is finding more questions than answers in her search.

In Friday's Daily Examiner, Miller St resident Helen Hearnshaw told how her insurance premium had risen from $1711 to $9600, through the inclusion of mandatory flood cover, prompting her to look elsewhere.

The article prompted calls from people suggesting different insurance companies.

"I had a conversation with a friend who lives in McHugh St, not far from here," Mrs Hearnshaw said.

"She had her renewal slip with APIA and the premium was $1200-odd, including flood."

"I told her APIA had refused to offer me any cover at all - I don't think she believed me.

"So we called APIA and the lady just said if my friend had been with APIA for a while, they would continue to cover her, but no new policies would be offered to people like me."

A spokesman for APIA confirmed this was the company's policy.

"We would never kick anyone off an existing policy," he said. "But a few years ago we stopped writing business for high and extreme flood areas."

He said the basis for the decision comes from the National Flood Risk Database.

"We make our own call from the data we receive from it.," he said.

As Mrs Hearnshaw continued to search, she found more anomalies in the flood cover available. After the online Coles Insurance tool refused cover for her home, she punched in different addresses near her home.

"If I change my address to 9 or 11 Miller I am able to get quotes," she said.

She entered data for addresses in McHugh, Breimba Sts and Island View Cl which returned interesting results.

"All of McHugh St addresses were offered a policy. Number four Breimba was, but not 86, and none for Island View Cl," she said. "Any house on the river side of Miller is denied a policy."

A spokesman for Clarence Valley Council said insurers were increasingly using independent flood height data.

Topics:  flood, grafton, insurance, premiums




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