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Bell Gully Advises On Natural Disaster Insurance Response Model Agreement

Bell Gully advised a group of general insurers on a natural disaster response model agreement designed to streamline settlement of claims for EQC insurance cover in the wake of a natural disaster.

Bell Gully worked closely with the Insurance Council of New Zealand, facilitating this process on behalf of a group of its members. The group of insurers comprised AA Insurance, Chubb, FMG, Ando (Hollard), IAG, MAS, Vero and Tower.

Our team was led by partners Glenn Joblin and David Friar, and special counsel Susannah Shaw.

The unique model agreement with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) sees EQC delegate its claims settlement function under the EQC Act to the insurers. As a result, anyone with home insurance whose home or land is damaged in a natural disaster will only need to lodge one claim through their private insurer. This process will commence in Q2 2021.

Partner Glenn Joblin said working directly with many of New Zealand's general insurers to build a consensus across all participating insurers and reach agreement with EQC on complex legal documentation was a highly collaborative exercise.

"It was great to work with multiple parties on such an important agreement for the people of New Zealand," he said.

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"The country has experienced a number of natural disasters over recent years, so we hope that this response agreement can ensure effective and efficient resolution of claims during stressful times."

Bell Gully's insurance practice continues to lead the New Zealand market, driven by strong transactional, litigation and claims work. The firm has recently advised on several major insurance transactions, including Resolution Life's acquisition of AMP Life, and major claim events, including the NZ International Convention Centre fire.

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