Saturday, July 13, 2024

EQC becomes Natural Hazards Commission

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has today become the Natural Hazards Commission Toka Tū Ake, reflecting its role in supporting New Zealanders to prepare for and recover from a range of natural hazards.

The new name is one of a raft of changes introduced by the new Natural Hazards Insurance Act that comes into force 1 July 2024 to update and modernise the scheme’s governing legislation.

The Government’s natural hazards insurance scheme has been in place for nearly 80 years, providing baseline cover for damage to insured properties from a range of natural hazards. Cover under the scheme remains largely the same under the new legislation, but the Act clarifies cover and entitlements, and introduces changes to improve the experience of insured homeowners making a claim.

Natural Hazards Commission Chief Executive, Tina Mitchell said, “The Natural Hazards Commission exists to reduce the impact of natural hazards on people, property and communities across New Zealand, by providing baseline property cover for insured homeowners, investing in research and education to build more resilient communities, and helping build New Zealand’s readiness to natural hazards.”

“The new Act reinforces and strengthens this role, and modernises our governing legislation to ensure we are better set up to meet the needs of homeowners now and in the future.”

The Natural Hazards Insurance Act incorporates recommendations from the Public Inquiry into EQC and reflects lessons learned from the experience of Canterbury homeowners.

Ms Mitchell says the Act makes claims for natural hazard damage more straightforward, for example, by creating a clearer process for claim excesses and calculations for retaining walls, bridges and culverts. Homeowners will also have increased cover for mixed-use buildings, such as apartments in commercial building.

“The Act also introduces improvements for homeowners making a claim. We simplified the claim experience two years ago through a partnership with insurers that channels insurance claims through your private insurer. These improvements will be further strengthened through a new Code of Insured Persons’ Rights and an independent dispute resolution service,” she said.

“Improvements to the scheme are timely as we see the impacts of a changing climate and the possibility of more extreme weather events in the years to come.”

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