Give us a break, say policyholders

Consumer groups are demanding that insurance companies reduce their premiums in the wake of record profits. Premiums have increased by up to 20 per cent in 2003 and are in line to rise 10 per cent in 2004 while insurance companies posted $5 billion in premium profits to 2002 – a 75 per cent increase on 2001. Data show that low-income Victorians have suffered a 50 per cent increase in personal premiums over the past 10 years and that more than 370,000 people in the state do not have household insurance. The Australian Consumers' Association says insurance companies are “getting away with” increasing premiums and there's no indication that any of the profits made will be passed on to consumers.