Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Marshall tells Parliament a major overhaul is needed

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has fired a broadside at the state’s CTP Green Slip insurers during a recent speech in Parliament and has called on the state government to reform the sector to provide better value for money to country motorists.

Mr Marshall told Parliament an overhaul of the Compulsory Third Party Motor Accident Insurance scheme was required to make it fairer and more affordable for country motorists.

“The CTP scheme as it currently stands is the least affordable insurance scheme in our country and we can expect premiums to rise by up to 20 per cent in a few years,” Mr Marshall said.

“Some passenger vehicle owners are paying up to $886 for their premiums now, that’s absolutely not on.

“This is a bloated, overpriced scheme which only returns 45 cents in the dollar to the ordinary motorist when injured. It’s an absolute rip-off and grossly unfair.

“For too many years country motorists have been absolutely robbed blind by insurance companies that are gouging and involving themselves in super profits, along with many of the legal fraternity.”

Mr Marshall told Parliament the “bloated CTP pricing structure” was hitting country taxi drivers the hardest.

“I have met with taxi drivers and co-operatives in Armidale, Glen Innes, Guyra, Inverell and Moree and their anger and frustration over the current Green Slip scheme has reached boiling point,” he said.

“One of those meetings was with a group of taxi drivers in Moree, led by Carl Brumfield, who has been in the taxi industry for more than 20 years, and Grant Custance and Phil Hardman.

“They told me that in December 2015 the CTP green slip insurance premium on a new vehicle was $3,065.76. In June this year, just six months later, that had jumped to $3,688, and in July – the very next month – that had suddenly risen to $4,600.

“That’s an increase within 12 months of $1,600, or a 50 per cent increase. It is little wonder our taxi drivers in country NSW are at breaking point.”

Mr Marshall said insurance companies would argue the premiums were so high because taxi drivers are approximately 12 times more likely to make a motor accident claim than ordinary drivers.

“But the three taxi drivers I met at that meeting in Moree had collectively been driving cabs for nearly 50 years and not one of them had ever made a claim,” he said.

“What does that say to you? And the problem is compounded by the way the insurance companies calculate the premiums. Taxi drivers in Armidale, Glen Innes, Guyra, Inverell and Moree are being measured against the claim history of taxi drivers in Newcastle and Wollongong, which are much bigger centres with a lot more traffic.

“Their claim histories don’t bear any resemblance to the risk factor of driving a taxi around those country communities where, on average, they are charging less than $10 a fare.

“They are largely dealing with pensioners or disadvantaged people in our community. The fares are low and the propensity to have an accident is extremely low.

“These drivers are being ripped off blind, which is grossly unfair to those who are trying to make a decent living. And worse, they’re being driven out of the industry by these unscrupulous insurance companies that are simply profit-gouging.

“Proper reform of the CTP green slip sector will see those taxi drivers, and indeed all country motorists, pay a premium that properly reflects their claim history, their risk factor and the nature of the business, and that they are not judged against accident history or risks in Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong.

“They just want a fair go and it is a fair go that I will fight for and that they should have.”

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