James Cook University (JCU) has revealed details of a new engineering inspection program that could push down the cost of insurance for apartments, units and other strata buildings in northern Queensland.
The $12.5 million, three-year, North Queensland Strata Title Inspection Program is funded by the Federal Government, administered by the Queensland Government, and independently developed and deployed by JCU. It will allow body corporates to engage independent inspectors to assess their property and provide an inspection report on its resilience and vulnerability to damage from cyclones. The scheme will improve the information available to body corporates about a property’s susceptibility to weather damage, recommend mitigation and remedial work to make the property more resilient, and enable insurers to set premiums that more accurately reflect the property’s vulnerability.
Program Manager, Angela Verhaaf said insurers tend to assume there is a similar risk profile for all buildings, and the program could lead to reduced premiums for properties that are more resilient to cyclones, storms and other wild weather.
“We know that the more pre-disaster mitigation occurs, the more resilient properties are to such wild weather. This program will identify specific building risks that could lead to extreme weather damage and subsequent insurance claims.” Angela Verhaaf said body corporates will be able to access the program from April.
“Once a request has been received via our portal, a qualified inspector will visit the property and use a mobile app to assess the building, using a scoring system developed by JCU. We’ll then issue the body corporate with a report detailing the building’s resilience and vulnerability scores, and also provide recommendations to deal with identified problems.”
“The body corporate can then use that report to negotiate with insurers for lower premiums,” Angela Verhaaf said. JCU is currently developing the program, and will provide specialist training for property inspectors.
The program is based on a study completed by JCU’s Cyclone Testing Station. A pilot of the scheme will start in early 2019, with the program starting in April 2019.