News Non-Life11 Jun 2018

New Zealand:Local councils grappling with higher insurance premiums

11 Jun 2018

Local councils around the country are facing insurance premium increases of millions of dollars because of earthquake risks and climate change.

Mr Stuart Crosby, vice-president of Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), which is an association representing the national interests of councils in New Zealand and leads best practice in the local government sector, said the increased costs were not surprising, according to a report by Radio NZ.

"One of the key influences at the moment is clearly climate change and natural hazard events which seem to become more prominent nowadays and there's absolutely no doubt that will be driving premiums."

Mr Crosby said councils were working pro-actively to avoid unnecessary insurance payments.

"Many of them are in shared service agreements which is where a number of councils within regions collectively put their insurance requirements together and may go to London to seek better arrangements."

LGNZ is working with the government to develop a risk agency, which would pool council resources and help councils understand their risks and assets better.

"In terms of our infrastructure up and down New Zealand, it's NZ$110 billion ($77 billion), so it's quite a significant issue both for management of those assets and insurance for them.

"A [risk agency] would help provide greater information to, particularly the smaller councils, who struggle in this area of investment and understanding the value and condition of their networks," he said.

It was likely some councils were finding they could not afford total cover of their assets, Mr Crosby said, but having reserve funds to self-insure, and working with other councils was a way to mitigate this.

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