Insurance premium up $700

AT LEAST one St George Insurance customer won't be renewing her policy after her home and contents premium jumped more than $700, just because of the postcode district she lives in.

The customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, said one of the insurer's sales staff told her the premium for her home in Waterview Heights had risen so dramatically because the company assessed the 2460 postcode, which includes Grafton and its hinterland, as a “high-risk area”.

“I asked if they took any account of where each house was located and they told me that it was just assessed on the postcode,” she said.

“I pointed out the name of where we live had the word ‘heights' in it. She said it didn't make any difference.”

But this customer was not prepared to let it go so easily and on Wednesday night she did a little detective work.

Posing as a new customer she was able to get a much lower quote to insure her home and the sales staff was adamant there was no risk assessment of the region based on postcode.

But when she revealed she was an existing customer the story changed.

“The woman I was talking to got quite defensive and said it was not just postcode but a whole lot of different things they used to base their assessment of risk,” she said.

“But in the end they admitted that the 2460 postcode had been assessed as high risk.”

The Daily Examiner also contacted St George to get a quote on insurance for a house on South Grafton hill.

The sales person quoted figures between $1000 and $1900 a year for house and contents cover for various levels of cover.

The representative also claimed there was no postcode-based risk assessment. During a further phone call to the company, a manager claimed that the Waterview Heights customer had been switched to Westpac when St George and Westpac merged last year.

They also claimed to have no knowledge of risk assessment based on postcode.

Yesterday the customer told The Daily Examiner she had suspicions St George was using a “bait and switch” tactic to get new customers.

“Why else would they offer new customers a better deal than their old customers?” she said.

She also believes her company might not be the only one using similar tactics on its customers.

“I've heard on the grapevine there are a few other people having similar experiences,” she said.

“I've got some holidays coming up in the next couple of weeks.

“I'm going to sit down and do some research to find out what is the best deal I can get for my insurance.”

St George did not offer any explanation of its sales tactics.

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