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Sweeping housing insurance changes proposed

9 October 2019

Raising the Earthquake Commission cap to $400,000 and changing MBIE building regulations to focus on saving property as well as life are among recommendations the Wellington Insurance Taskforce wants the Government to investigate.

The Taskforce, chaired by Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and including representatives of GNS Science, Engineering NZ, bodies corporate, property developers and the Insurance Council, wrapped up the last of its three meetings yesterday.

It was established following the Insurance Forum organised by the Mayor in June that discussed rising concerns around affordability and accessibility of insurance for building and home owners.

The Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson, asked the Mayor if a Taskforce could be formed to consider the current insurance situation and make recommendations that could be considered and presented to Treasury.

“We were fortunate the Taskforce contained some of the country’s top experts in the areas of risk and natural hazards and they contributed to lively and very informed discussions,” Mayor Lester said.

“It became clear that this is the right time for the Government to investigate increasing the EQC cap to $400,000 in tandem with other mitigation measures.”

One suggestion that received unanimous support was setting up an information portal so that property risk and hazard information would be available to every member of the public at the push of a button.

Other recommendations will include a call for more transparency from the insurers about how premiums are set, and an investigation into the roles brokers play in setting premium levels.

The Taskforce’s recommendations will be formally submitted to the Minister of Finance by the end of October.


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