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ACT Bill on Earthquake Commission Drawn

Thursday 6th Jul 2000
Owen Jennings
Media Release -- Other

A Private Member’s Bill from ACT MP Owen Jennings that dissolves the Earthquake Commission and leaves consumers free to choose both the level of protection against a disaster they require, and who will provide that cover was today drawn from the ballot in Parliament.

The Earthquake Commission currently provides compulsory disaster insurance cover under all policies of fire insurance, in respect of residential dwellings and personal property. The maximum limit of the Commission’s liability is $100,000 per dwelling and $20,000 for personal property. Private insurers then underwrite policies in respect of the difference between the maximum commission liability and the total value at risk.

Owen Jennings said that this is very limited cover considering the limits and exclusions. Bush fires, storms, floods and many other disasters are not covered by the Commission. There are exclusions for fences, swimming pools, paths and jewellery for example. Up until 1993 the Commission covered all property insured. This Commission’s cover was progressively withdrawn over several years with private insurers picking up the difference.

Owen Jennings said that the private market in insurance and re-insurance is capable of coping with the extra risk and remain focused on delivering a range of consumer led products at a competitive cost.

‘The moves by the State to withdraw from the provision of various insurance markets over several years has been advantageous to consumers and that this process should proceed. There is no reason to believe the private insurance market cannot do as professional job as it has done with motor vehicles and commercial property when the State withdrew from those markets,” said Owen Jennings.

For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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