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Ingram says Parliament should be recalled to fix insurance crisis
The Member for Gippsland East, today called for an emergency session of the Victorian Parliament to deal with the public and professional liability insurance crisis
By Craig Ingram - 30th June 2002 - Back to News
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The Member for Gippsland East, Craig Ingram, today called for an emergency session of the Victorian Parliament to deal with the public and professional liability insurance crisis.
"My Parliamentary colleagues who have their bags packed for London, Paris and other destinations may not be impressed," Mr Ingram said.
"But the public and professional liability insurance situation is a crisis of mammoth proportions, particularly for small businesses, adventure and holiday activities and sporting groups in regional Victoria.
"It has been almost 12 months since I pointed out there was a crisis in the industry.
"We cannot afford the luxury of delaying crucial reforms any longer.
"The Minister for Finance, John Lenders, has done his best to help voluntary associations and pony clubs get insurance, but he cannot do it all by himself and these measures alone will not fix the problem.
"We must look at the role played by lawyers and the insurance industry.
"They might be influential, but I’m not here to prop up their interests.
"It’s time for Governments – both State and Federal - to take on the lawyers and the insurance industry."
Some of the measures Mr Ingram said he would support include:
- Legislation to protect volunteers;
- The re-establishment of the State Insurance Office;
- Law reform to set limits on the number of small claims and put a ceiling on large claims;
- Clarifying the definition of negligence;
- A ban on lawyers’ advertising which appears to tout for business
"Not only have premiums sky-rocketed to unaffordable levels, but many businesses and activities cannot get insurance at all," Mr Ingram said.
"If insurance companies want to pick and choose what insurance they will offer, it may be time for the Government to step in and re-establish the State Insurance Office to offer insurance not only for public and professional liability, but also in more profitable areas like building and contents insurance.
"I believe the State Insurance Office could play an important role in protecting the consumer against market power.
"If the lawyers and insurance industry are not willing to join the Government in coming up with concrete solutions, then we, as members of Parliament, have a responsibility to join the Government in doing the job so that businesses, community groups and communities as a whole are looked after.
"I am willing to forgo my winter recess to attend Parliament and solve the problem. Do my colleagues believe this issue is so important that they would as well?," Mr Ingram concluded.
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