The Wellington insurance taskforce plans on proposing “sweeping” changes to housing insurance, including changing building regulations to focus on saving property as well as life and raising the Earthquake Commission (EQC) cap to $400,000.
The taskforce was chaired by Wellington mayor Justin Lester and includes representatives of GNS Science, Engineering NZ, bodies corporate, property developers, and the Insurance Council. It was established following a forum hosted by the Wellington City Council in June that discussed rising concerns around affordability and accessibility of insurance for homeowners.
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“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,” said Lester. “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 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 role brokers play in setting premium levels.
The taskforce’s recommendations will formally be submitted to Minister of Finance Grant Robertson by the end of October.