The Insurance Council of New Zealand is welcoming the changes to the EQC Act announced this morning by the Government. “This morning’s announcement is the first step in improving the Earthquake Commission and its responsiveness to major disasters. We support the changes announced by the Minister and are hopeful that lessons learned from the upcoming inquiry into EQC will lead to further change,” said Insurance Council Chief Executive, Tim Grafton. “The lifting of EQC cover to $150,000 plus GST acknowledges the fact there has been no change in the level of cover provided in the Act since 1993. The transfer of contents insurance from EQC to private insurers logically reflects the need to focus EQC cover on what is most needed after a disaster: rehousing people.” “There is also an important provision to clarify that EQC can share information with insurers to assist in the settlement of insurance claims,” said Grafton. “The last thing that’s needed when you are trying to settle claims after a catastrophe is bureaucratic hurdles creating delays when information sharing is essential to speed recovery and safeguard people.” “There is still further work required around the management of claims, however. We believe insurers should manage and settle all claims, including those under cap, as agents for EQC. It’s insurers who have the relationships with customers and the bulk of resources, and will already be involved in settling contents claims in any event. This arrangement has been tested and proven by the response to the Kaikōura earthquake, the recovery of which has progressed far more smoothly and efficiently than was seen in Canterbury.”

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