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Insurance law to be rescheduled

22 March 2004 Media Statement

Insurance law to be rescheduled

Commerce Minister Margaret Wilson says the Government will delay law changes regulating non-life insurers until the Law Commission has finished reviewing life insurance.

Margaret Wilson says that any reforms of life insurance regulation that come out of the Law Commission’s work could also have implications for non-life insurance.

“Because of this, we have decided to wait to implement the planned reforms to the regulation of non-life insurers."

The Law Commission has begun a review of the regulation and supervision of life insurance and life insurance products in New Zealand.

“It recently released a preliminary paper that set out the current law, raised issues, and invited comment on the regulation and supervision of life insurers and life insurance products in New Zealand," Margaret Wilson says.

New Zealand regulates life and non-life insurance under two separate regimes, life and other. The government plans to reform both.

Margaret Wilson says Cabinet has already resolved to make limited adjustments to the law governing non-life insurers.

“The proposal is that all non-life insurers would have to seek and disclose annual ratings of their financial strength from an approved ratings agency.

“They would also be required to file annual financial statements complying with current financial reporting standards. They would, however, no longer be required to lodge deposits, and those non-life insurers' deposits currently held by the Public Trustee would be refunded to the industry. "

"This government is very aware of the need to reduce unnecessary compliance costs for business."

"We have been talking to the industry and are aware of the impacts the proposed changes to non-life insurance regulation will have, particularly on smaller insurers.

“We have therefore decided to delay the reform of non-life insurance regulation so we can incorporate any changes arising out the Law Commission’s work. This means the insurance industry will not be potentially faced with two different sets of new requirements one after the other."

Note

To view the Law Commission’s Preliminary Paper 53: Life Insurance online visit the publications section on the Law Commission website (www.lawcom.govt.nz). The Law Commission is due to report back to the government by 31 October 2004.

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