New Zealand Law Society - Insurance contract law consultation opened

Insurance contract law consultation opened

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Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi has announced the start of public consultation on New Zealand’s insurance contract law.

He has released an issues paper and information on how submissions can be made. Consultation closes at 5pm on Friday, 13 July 2018.

Mr Faafoi says New Zealand’s insurance law is outdated with legislation spanning six different Acts, some more than 100 years old.

"There are significant problems with New Zealand’s insurance contract law which are undermining the effectiveness of our insurance markets and impacting those who do not receive the support they anticipated from their insurance policies.

“I have heard, for example, that consumers are sometimes not covered for losses or unable to claim for important needs like health treatment because they innocently did not disclose seemingly unrelated matters to the insurer.

“This is really tough for people who genuinely believe they have met their requirements and are later unable to rely on benefits of insurance. So onerous disclosure requirements are one of the issues we need to consider and, I hope, an issue that will be addressed in feedback from submitters.”

The review will examine a range of issues with insurance contract law, including those relating to:

  • Disclosure obligations for policyholders;
  • Technical issues that have been identified by the Law Commission and insurance industry;
  • Gaps in New Zealand’s regulation of insurers’ conduct;
  • The scope of terms defined to be not “unfair contract terms” under the Fair Trading Act 1986;
  • Consumers’ ability to find and compare prices and policies.