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Victorian Insurance Premiums Spike Amidst Industry Turbulence

Victorian Insurance Premiums Spike Amidst Industry Turbulence

In the midst of considerable upheaval within the construction industry, the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) has revealed substantial hikes in its builders' warranty insurance premiums, effective August 6.
These increments follow an unprecedented surge in claims settlements over recent months.

Michael Keynes, a spokesperson for VMIA, stated that the raises, which see premiums leaping by an average of 53%, are a necessary measure to accommodate the recent flood of claims. "A record number of domestic building insurance claims have been resolved over the past year." Since July 1, the insurer has settled over 4000 claims.

Specifically, premiums for new single and multi-unit constructions will surge by 65%, while structural and non-structural renovations along with swimming pools will face a 20% rise. The charges for owner-builders are also set to increase by 65%.

Keynes attributes this spike to several intersecting issues: "We are dealing with the compounded effects of builder insolvencies, high inflation, and an ongoing shortage of skilled workers, all of which drive up building costs. As a result, VMIA needs to adjust premiums to ensure continued protection for homeowners when builders can't complete or rectify constructions."

In response, industry watchdogs, such as the Housing Industry Association (HIA), have been vocal about their objections. Keith Ryan, the executive director of HIA Victoria, warned that these increased premiums will further dent housing affordability in the state. "Victorian home builders and their clients are already grappling with soaring costs. This increase is an additional burden which hits new homebuyers the hardest," Ryan said in a statement.

The new premiums add to the already heavy financial load confronting new home buyers. "In Melbourne, nearly half of the cost of a new house and land package is swallowed up by taxes, fees, and related charges – effectively putting homeownership out of reach for many Victorians," Ryan elaborated.

Ryan also expressed disappointment that higher premiums were not coupled with enhanced insurance benefits for homeowners. He cautioned that builders, already stretched by increased material and labor costs, will ultimately pass these added expenses on to customers.

While premium hikes are aimed at safeguarding homeowners in these turbulent times, it’s clear that the cascading costs and their effects on housing affordability will spark further debate. This article incorporates information originally reported by insuranceNEWS.com.au.

Published:Monday, 17th Jun 2024
Source: Paige Estritori

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Subrogation:
An insurance carrier may reserve the "right of subrogation" in the event of a loss. This means that the company may choose to take action to recover the amount of a claim paid to a covered insured if the loss was caused by a third party.