Under law, our insurance premiums are not due until 14 days after we have received notice of the new premiums. As of this date we have not officially received notice. However the following applies:
• Our current premiums for ISR work out at about 15 cents for every $100 insured compared to a national average of around 30 cents for every $100 insured; a reasonable insurance rate would therefore be about double our current premiums.
• Our new premiums for ISR are likely to be around $900,000 which represents 72 cents in the $100. This represents an increase of about 4.5 times our previous premiums. It also comes with an increased excess.
• It is not possible for individual ministry units to take out policies; only an incorporated body having ownership of the property can take out insurance. This means that only the schools, the aged care facilities, Anglicare NQ and the Corporation of the Diocesan Synod of North Queensland can take out property insurance.
• Heritage buildings must be repaired if damaged, but if substantially or totally destroyed they can be demolished rather than replaced.
• Properties that are leased by the Diocese usually require property insurance as part of the Tenancy contract: currently we lease out approximately 25 houses, one church hall and the offices, shop and house at St Johns Cairns which are leased to Anglicare NQ.
• The two stores (Kowanyama and Pompuraaw) need to be insured as ongoing businesses.
• Removal of debris only insurance is not going to be made available to us.
• We are legally and morally obliged to insure people and other people’s property, but we are not legally obliged to insure our own property.
It is also absolutely clear that we cannot pay insurance of $900,000; and that ministry units are not in a position to increase their insurance premiums by over four times. In the end we are here to carry out the Great Commission and the Great Commandments: we are not here to maintain buildings. Yearly premiums of $900,000 would lead to the effective end of financial support for any ministry.