Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Back up financial support for AMI policyholders

Back up financial support for AMI policyholders

The Government has announced it will provide a back up financial support package for AMI Insurance to give policyholders certainty and to ensure an orderly rebuild of Christchurch in the aftermath of the two earthquakes.

The support package would be called on only as a last resort if AMI's own reserves have been exhausted - unless the Crown believes it is in the public interest to take control sooner, Finance Minister Bill English said today.

"This support package will give AMI the time to seek a market solution to the challenges it faces as a result of the two Canterbury earthquakes," he says.

If the package is called on, it would involve the Government investing up to $500 million of equity in AMI, with the right to take ownership and assume control of the company if it needs to.

Christchurch-based AMI Insurance is New Zealand's second-largest residential insurer with 485,000 policyholders and 1.2 million policies across the country.

In Christchurch alone it has more than 85,000 policyholders with 225,000 policies - or about 35 per cent of the residential insurance market in the city.

"The Government has made it clear that helping to rebuild Christchurch is one of its most important priorities," Mr English says.

"That is what today's announcement is about: providing certainty for AMI's tens of thousands of policyholders in the aftermath of the two earthquakes and ensuring the rebuilding of Christchurch and the insurance claims process proceeds in an orderly manner.

"AMI approached the Government on 9 March, concerned that its reserves and reinsurance might not be sufficient to cover the total value of claims resulting from the Canterbury earthquakes," Mr English says.

"Since then, officials have been working closely with the company to gather information about what are complex issues and to consider the best option for taxpayers and AMI's policyholders.

"It was the Government's judgement that a support package was necessary to give certainty to policyholders that their claims will be covered. This applies to all AMI policyholders - not just those in Christchurch.

"Because of uncertainty around the cost of earthquake damage, it is too early to tell whether AMI will have sufficient resources to cover all of these claims. The full extent of the claims AMI faces will remain unclear for several months.

"Ministers have decided to act now. This provides a financial backstop for policyholders so the rebuilding of Christchurch is not jeopardised by potential solvency or liquidity issues and so confidence is maintained in the insurance sector.

"AMI has confirmed it will seek an alternative commercial arrangement to replace the Government's support facility as soon as possible. The Government's actions give the company time to do that.

"The alternative of doing nothing would likely have been severe, potentially leaving many thousands of AMI policyholders without the insurance cover and financial resources needed to rebuild.

"It would also have led to long delays in processing claims, other claims being only partially met and many of AMI's customers in Christchurch not having insurance cover for future risks.

"With AMI having about 35 per cent of the residential insurance market in Christchurch, a significant proportion of residential repairs and rebuilding in the city will be funded by insurance payments to AMI customers.

"This is an unusual situation requiring a special response.

"In considering options, the Government has been acutely aware of the need to protect the interests of taxpayers, who are already facing significant costs from the Canterbury earthquakes and finance company collapses.

"If Government financial assistance is needed, the Government will take every possible step to minimise the cost to taxpayers," Mr English says.

"Events such as this show the importance of getting the Government's finances back into good shape as soon as possible. The Government remains committed to returning to budget surpluses and this arrangement doesn't alter that commitment."

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news