News Non-Life31 Jan 2018

New Zealand:Insurers laud Kaikoura earthquake recovery model

| 31 Jan 2018

The Kaikoura earthquake recovery is progressing well, according to new data from the Insurance Council of NZ, as the figures released show that the insurance sector has exceeded its goal of having a majority of claims settled by the end of 2017.

Mr Tim Grafton, Chief Executive of the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ), said that the current model of settling quake claims, in which homeowners deal with their insurers at the beginning rather than with the Earthquake Commission (EQC), had made a huge difference and should be adopted in future events.

At 31 December 2017, 88% of all domestic quake claims had been partially or fully settled. The Kaikoura earthquake occurred in November 2016.

“These numbers show how effective the approach insurers and EQC took to managing events post-Kaikoura has been,” Mr Grafton said. “By allowing people to make claims with their insurers for non-land damage that EQC may cover, the vast majority of insurers—acting as agents for EQC—have enabled thousands of people to have their claims assessed and settled much faster than we saw post-Canterbury earthquake.”

The EQC is a government entity investing in natural disaster research, education and providing natural disaster insurance to residential property owners.

After Kaikoura, insurers managed and settled the vast majority of domestic claims. Private insurers have also managed all commercial claims.

“This is the model for the future,” said Mr Grafton who added that the government should require such a model for management of any future natural disasters.

The previous model of lodging claims first with the EQC, getting the commission to assess the claims and then handing over to the insurer to start the whole cycle all over again, “that was just a great inefficient waste of time which prolonged the settlement process", he said.

Total insured losses to date for the Kaikoura earthquake are NZ$2.14 billion (US$1.57 billion), of which NZ$631 million are from domestic claims.



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