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Saturday, 16 February 2013

More on the new “sum assured” house insurance policies

Diana Clements, writing in the New Zealand Herald today (here), has an article about the future of property insurance as companies go along the Sum Assured or Fixed Sum route. This is the future for all of us, and has very serious implications for everyone with a house insurance policy.  The article is an important read as preparation for when you have to renew your insurance policy during the year.

A few points not evident in the article:

  1. there is no clarity yet about what the technical terms in the new policies will mean. There may be a wide difference between insurer and policy holder as to what the policy document will mean in practice. An ideal scenario for a plain English policy document approach.
  2. there is no certainty that insurance companies will accept the value of the agreed sum should the property be damaged or destroyed. Christchurch’s post-earthquake experience shows that some insurers will endeavour to find points to re-interpret or dispute, to reduce the cost of the pay-outs they have to make.
  3. there is no certainty that the new policies will give claimants sufficient rights to protect their interests should a dispute arise.
  4. the article discusses the role of the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman in neutral and uncritical terms, missing the point that the ISO has been relatively ineffective in the Christchurch situation.

There are two previous post on this form of insurance, for AA insurance here, and IAG plus VERO here.


Friday, 15 February 2013

Minister Brownlee on TC3 options, solutions and values

Gerry Brownlee issued a media release today congratulating those who have been working on viable options for speedier building on TC3 land. Also mentioned is the issue of property values in TC3 areas.

The release reads (original here):

Thursday, 14 February 2013

EQC - yet more changes to the Opting Out rules

Earlier this week EQC made changes to their Opting out web page(see here). Further changes have been made, introducing more detail into the opting out process.

A major change is that, once you have sent EQC your Opt Out application, you must wait up to 15 working days before you will know if EQC will allow you to begin the process.  So, without EQC’s permission, you cannot get started with opting out.

Important issues arise from this. The first is, why is this step necessary? If EQC have no intentions of refusing Opt Out requests at this stage there would be not need to issue an authorisation to proceed. On what grounds might EQC withhold permission to proceed? What if the process takes more than 15 working days? This contingency is not covered.

Another step that has been added relates to the meeting that takes place on-site between the claimant, the nominated contractor, and EQC. From the new wording, where it states at point 3: “EQC will send you a copy of your Scope of Works which will incorporate any amendments discussed on site with you and your contractor”, is an implication that EQC’s  Scope of Works is not yet final. Does this mean that the amount of damage is up for negotiation? Up and down? Will the EQC on-site representative be suitably qualified to discuss these things? What happens later if EQC don’t agree with the contractor’s prices? What are the rules around all of this?

There have been other changes, and the structure of the Opting Out webpage has been rearranged as well, so I have reproduced it all below. The highlighted bits are what seem key to me – if it affects you please read it all as I may well have misread or misunderstood parts!

VERO - Mainzeal update

Under the AMP banner, VERO have released the following statement assuring customers that rebuilds and repairs will continue as scheduled (original is here). Domestic customers are not affected by the Mainzeal problem.

Following the announcement that Mainzeal Property and Construction Ltd has been placed into receivership, we met with receivers PWC to discuss the implications for our Christchurch customers. 

The MWH Mainzeal joint venture is a separate legal entity, and distinct from Mainzeal Property and Construction Ltd.

There are two partners in the joint venture: MWH Global and Mainzeal. Our arrangement with the joint venture allows MWH to continue to provide program management services for our customers in the event that Mainzeal are unable to. MWH have already stepped up their efforts to ensure the program remains on schedule.

We can confirm that customers with reinstatements currently underway will continue as planned.

The small number of commercial customers who may be impacted by this issue have been contacted and we will continue to work with them until their reinstatement is complete.

No domestic customers are affected.

We are committed to delivering on our reinstatement schedules and anticipate that this will not affect our steady progress.

We will continue to keep you updated as we get further information.



Jimmy Higgins | Vero EGM Earthquake Programme

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

EQC update on the “Opting out” process

EQC have changed their Opting out web page by adding a small section on how permission to opt out is formalised (here).

Confirmation to Proceed letter

We'll send you a Confirmation to Proceed letter when your form has been processed.

It's important that you don't authorise or start any repairs until you've got the Confirmation to Proceed letter.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Fletcher EQR website taken down or out?

I don’t know the significance of this but the Fletcher EQR website (here) is currently missing. In it’s place is the screen shown below. The screen capture was made at 8.40 this evening.


Hacktivist or did someone forget to pay the web hosting company?