Insurance up by 689%

WHAT THE: Bill and Trish Applebee are appalled at the increase in their house3 and contents insurance.
WHAT THE: Bill and Trish Applebee are appalled at the increase in their house3 and contents insurance. Scottie Simmonds

A BUNDABERG couple are flabbergasted their annual house and contents insurance has soared by more than $5000 since their last bill.

Trish and Bill Applebee thought it must be a mistake that last year's $895 bill had become $5921.20 this year.

"I was expecting a hike on the new bill, but nothing like this," Mrs Applebee said.

"I went to the Bundaberg RACQ office to check, they looked our policy and said it was correct."

Mr Applebee said he later went into the office to see if they could opt out of the new flood part of the policy.

"The girl looked up our address on Google maps and said as we are in a flood-prone area and we had no choice but to pay the $5000 extra a year or have no house insurance for fire, theft etc," Mr Applebee said.

"The thing that upset me was the girl saying it was an 'executive decision' made by the board," Mrs Applebee said.

The couple, who are both police officers, said their home in North Bundaberg was not flooded during the 2010-2011 floods and they have not made any claims.

"Our slab was about 1.6m above the flood line," Mr Applebee said.

RACQ Insurance communications executive manager Mike Sopinski said the company operated a "highly sophisticated pricing engine" which prices risk at an individual property address level.

"We look at the individual property, not zones or postcodes in relation to flood. Those properties identified as at high flood risk will experience premium increases," Mr Sopinski said.

Bundaberg Regional Council's general manager of infrastructure, Andrew Fulton, said potential home buyers could come to the council's planning counter to get a flood management map showing which areas in Bundaberg were expected to be covered in water in the next flood event.

"The biggest floods in the region happened in 1875, 1890, 1893, 1942 and 2011," Mr Fulton said.

"The biggest floods were in the 1800s, but 1942 was one metre higher than 2011."

Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten said the Federal Government had funded a flood portal that would aggregate all flood risk information and make it more accessible to home buyers.

"This will become a national library of flood risk information that will better inform consumers about their level of flood risk.

Geosciences Australia says the first phase of the flood portal is expected to launch later this year.

Topics:  bill price rise

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