New Zealand Law Society - EQC changes to natural disaster cover effective from 1 July

EQC changes to natural disaster cover effective from 1 July

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The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has announced changes to cover for natural disaster after legislation came into effect 1 July 2019.

The Earthquake Commission Amendment Bill makes four key changes to the Earthquake Commission Act 1993. The two changes effective 1 July are:

  • Cover for New Zealand homeowners for damages to property caused by natural disaster has risen from $100,000 (plus GST) to $150,000 (plus GST).
  • Cover for personal property damaged by natural disaster events when insured privately for fire insurance is no longer provided.

Property cover in storms or flooding events remain excluded where the EQC only provides cover for land damage.

“The increase in the residential cap will bring the EQC cover more in line with increased house prices,” says EQC Chief Executive Sid Miller.

“When the private insurers handle all contents damage, the customers will only have a single point of contact which should make things easier for the claimant.”

Two other changes came into effect when the legislation was passed by Parliament on 19 February 2019.

The time limit for claim notifications has extended from three months to two years after a natural disaster, applicable only to events from 19 February.

The EQC’s authority to share information to speed up settlement of insurance claims where sharing information is in the public interest was also clarified.

The July changes are not applicable prior to the date of change.

The EQC also has a guide to the four Act changes here.