Opening Statement to Senate Economics Legislation Committee - March 2022
Helen Rowell, Deputy Chair - Senate, Economics Legislation Committee into Treasury Laws Amendment (Cyclone and Flood Damage Reinsurance Pool) Bill 2022, Canberra.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Committee today. I am joined by our Head of Insurance Policy, Ann Dobinson, and Head of Insurance Risk, Jonathan Wood.
As the prudential regulator for insurers, APRA’s mandate is to protect the Australian community by establishing and enforcing prudential standards and practices designed to ensure that, under all reasonable circumstances, financial promises made by insurers - to meet policyholders’ claims - are met within a stable, efficient and competitive financial system.
APRA’s Corporate Plans and public statements have highlighted the need to address the affordability and availability of insurance and the impact on the general insurance industry of natural catastrophes. This is a complex issue for which collective action is needed from insurers, regulators, federal, state and local governments and consumers.
APRA has been engaging with Government, other Commonwealth agencies and industry on measures that strike an appropriate balance between the sustainability of the insurance industry and access to affordable and well-designed insurance products for consumers. The reinsurance pool is a tangible example of this collaborative effort.
APRA has been working with the Treasury-led Taskforce on the development and design of the reinsurance pool to ensure that improved outcomes for consumers are realised, while ensuring the resilience of the insurance industry.
APRA looks forward to continuing work with all stakeholders as appropriate on possible solutions to increase the availability and affordability of insurance in a sustainable matter.
With those brief opening remarks, we are happy to take your questions.
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The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry. It oversees banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, private health insurers, friendly societies, and most members of the superannuation industry. APRA currently supervises institutions holding $7.9 trillion in assets for Australian depositors, policyholders and superannuation fund members.