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Commonwealth Bank expands comminsure online insurance range and choice of cover

9 October 2000

The Commonwealth Bank's general insurance subsidiary, Commonwealth Insurance Limited (CIL) has boosted the range and choice of general insurance available through the internet at its increasingly popular comminsure site.

At comminsure, there is now the choice of either fully comprehensive "Prime" insurance or budget-priced "Economiser" insurance providing more selective coverage, new investment home insurance specifically designed for property investors and landlords, domestic workers compensation insurance, and a special Spring bonus of $2,000 complimentary customised personal valuables cover when CIL combined home and contents insurance is purchased.

Executive Director of Commonwealth Insurance, Ms Lyndell Fraser said the move to expand CIL's online-sourced insurance coverage was stimulated by rapid growth in general home and contents insurance policy sales through its fledgling but increasingly popular comminsure online facility, launched only in March this year.

"The internet is the fastest-growing purchase and distribution channel and each month since launch we've registered increased 'hits' which people are converting into solid policy purchases and protection at the click of a button. Convenience, accessibility and competitive pricing mark the online comminsure operation.

"Clearly, the Commonwealth brand and the time saving and ease of purchase at our encrypted comminsure site are very appealing to an increasingly time-poor society which is no longer cautious about the internet. Now we've boosted the insurance range and added icing to the cake," Ms Fraser said.

Insurance quotes, policy details and immediate cover are available at the www.comminsure.com.au internet site, 24 hours a day.

Ms Fraser said CIL's new investment home and strata title properties insurance offers coverage not provided by standard home insurance policies. "Our investment home insurance options give investors and landlords protection against specific events such as loss of rent, accidental damage, malicious damage caused by tenants or their guests and theft of property by tenants.

"It adds up to peace of mind and a shield for investors against lost rent income or unexpected, sometimes expensive repairs, which would not be covered under a standard home insurance policy," Ms Fraser said.

"Not only is Commonwealth Insurance one of few insurers offering specialised investment property cover, comminsure coverage online provides immediate protection and flexible monthly or annual payments, with no extra premium cost for the monthly option. There's also a discount for a combined building and contents policy and now the choice of Prime or Economiser coverage."

An interactive calculator helps investors to estimate the amount of insurance required, as well as providing quotes individually determined from the specific information entered by investors as they apply online.

Commonwealth Insurance was one of the first companies in Australia to offer online insurance quotes, coverage and payment facilities. Ms Fraser said future improvements to the comminsure site would include providing a policy management capability, giving policyholders immediate access to their policy details.

CommInsure Update

Almost immediately after its launch in March 2000 the CommInsure web site was ranked equal first by the Deloitte eCommerce review into insurance internet sites in April/May 2000.

The site has been very successful to date with 'hits', quotes and sales increasing strongly each month since the launch. Now a choice of Prime or Economiser cover and investment home insurance have been added to the policy range and are available online at http://www.comminsure.com.au/.

Background

The Investment Home Loan Market

Total balances for investment home loans in Australia have almost doubled, from $40 billion to $75 billion, in the three years to the beginning of June 2000. Investment loans represent about 30% of the total home loan market.

Nationwide, investment home loan approvals are about $1.4 billion per month, with an average loan size of about $160,000.

Investment Vs Owner Occupied Insurance

As more people in Australia are becoming property investors and landlords, there is an increasing need for property insurance to meet their specific needs as investors and to protect their investment and the income it generates.

Standard home and contents policies are geared to the needs of owner-occupiers, not property investors, and do not provide coverage for events related to investment properties.

Commonwealth Insurance now offers Investment Home Insurance specifically designed for landlords and property investors. It is one of only a handful of insurers to do so in Australia. The three types of cover available are: building cover, strata title owner's cover and contents cover.

The key differentiators to a standard home insurance policy include the options outlined below. Many people may not be aware that this specialised cover is available in the market and that specific events such as malicious damage by tenants or rent default would not be covered under a standard home policy.

Commonwealth Insurance's new Investment Home Insurance includes options providing coverage for:

  • accidental damage to the building
  • malicious damage caused by tenants or their guests
  • theft of property by tenants
  • loss of rent (damage) following damage to the premises, or where the tenant cannot access the premises because of damage to property in close proximity
  • loss of rent (extra) where the tenant stops paying rent owed, or where the tenant departs suddenly leaving unpaid rent, or denies lawful access to the property.

Commonwealth Insurance's Investment Home Insurance policy also provides for:

  • replacement value for building and contents in most cases
  • demolition and costs to remove debris
  • architects', engineers' and surveyors' costs related to building or repair of the property
  • extra unexpected costs to comply with government or local authority laws and regulations
  • loss if you can only replace the destroyed building on a reduced floor area if government regulations require it
  • legal liability to $12.5 million
  • flexible premium payments - annually or monthly (at no extra premium cost)
  • round-the-clock emergency claims assistance
  • optional covers as outlined above