More EQC info now available to homeowners

  • Hon Dr Megan Woods
Earthquake Commission

Homeowners can now access more information about a property’s previous Earthquake Commission claims, says Minister Megan Woods.

The Government’s Earthquake Commission Amendment Act passed by Parliament this week, empowers EQC to share more information about previous claims on a home.

“Previously homeowners and prospective buyers could only get information about claims on a property where there was a deed of assignment from the former owner. This meant people couldn’t find out what EQC claims there had been on a property they owned or were looking to buy. People should still get a deed of assignment when buying a house, but this change helps people who don’t have one.

“The changes we have made also allow EQC to share information to prevent or lessen a threat to public health or safety.

“Extended information sharing is one of four changes made to the Earthquake Commission Act. We have also increased the time limits for claim notification to up to two years; to give people more time to lodge their claims. They will still need to show that the damage was the result of an event covered by EQC,” says Megan Woods.

Further changes increasing the EQC cap on new claims and removing cover for contents, will come into effect from 1 July 2019 as people’s house and contents policies with their private insurer are renewed.

“Increasing the cap EQC can pay on new claims to $150,000, from $100,000, recognises the increase in building costs and means less over-cap claims will need to be passed onto private insurers.

“We have also removed EQC cover for contents and personal property, which will be picked up by private insurers. Removing cover for contents will focus all EQC’s claim management resources on resolving residential building and land damage claims.

“These four common sense changes will improve the efficiency of New Zealand’s natural disaster insurance scheme and focus EQC’s claim managers on helping people fix their homes.

“We’re making these changes ahead of the Inquiry into EQC and a further review of the EQC Act, as they are straight-forward improvements that fix identified issues with the scheme. These changes means that if the worst happened and there is another natural disaster, claims can be managed more efficiently,” says Megan Woods.