NZ introduces new natural disaster response model

New Zealand will use a new natural disaster insurance model which is set to come into effect on June 30 and was hailed as “world first” by Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission (EQC) David Clark on Monday.

The collaboration between eight private insurers, EQC and the Insurance Council of New Zealand, means each New Zealander now has a single point of contact for natural disaster insurance claims, Clark said in a statement.

“The partnership is a good example of government and industry coming together in a coordinated way to deliver what is arguably one of the most responsive disaster response platforms in the world. It puts claimants at the center of the insurance process,” Xinhua news agency quoted Clark as saying.

The fault with the previous system was claims over the EQC cap were first assessed by EQC, then a private insurer. This resulted in delays, conflicting scopes of work and added stress for homeowners, he said.

The report of the public inquiry into the earthquake commission made a number of recommendations for EQC and private insurers to facilitate a better insurance experience for people following a natural disaster. This model directly responds to 24 of the inquiry’s 69 recommendations, the Minister said.

Building on the model used after the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016, people will make just one claim to their private insurer for all aspects of their private and EQC cover.

However, EQC retains its role coordinating the government’s insurance response and recovery following a future natural disaster, he said.

The Minister expects to introduce legislation to modernize the EQC Act at the end of this year.

–IANS

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