Natural Hazards Insurance Act soon to replace the Earthquake Commission Act

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New Zealand’s Natural Hazards Insurance Act has recently been passed into law and will come into effect from 1 July 2024. 

The law replaces the longstanding Earthquake Commission Act 1993 (EQC Act) and provides cover for damage to buildings and land caused by natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, and landslides.  

It is important to note that time limitations apply when making a claim for natural disaster damage. Home and business owners must make a claim within three months of the event, failing to meet this deadline allows EQC to decline the claim as being out of time. There may be exceptions to this, but strictly speaking, if the property owner makes a claim outside that timeframe, they may be too late. 

This time limitation is crucial, as it highlights the need for property owners to act quickly and decisively after a natural disaster. Waiting too long to make a claim can result in the claim being denied, which means that property owners may be left to bear the cost of the damage on their own. 

At Shine Lawyers New Zealand, we understand the stress and uncertainty that can arise from natural disasters. That’s why our team of experienced lawyers is here to help you navigate the complex process of making a natural disaster insurance claim. We can assist you with understanding your entitlements, assessing your property damage, and negotiating the best outcome for you, outside court proceedings.

If you have been affected by a natural disaster and need help with your insurance claim, contact Shine Lawyers New Zealand today. Our team is dedicated to helping you access your entitlements. 

What changes have been made to the EQC Act 

The new legislation keeps many of the core settings for cover as currently provided for under the existing legislation. In summary, the new legislation: 

  • Expands the definition of natural disaster to include landslides, subsidence, and storm surges. 
  • It clarifies the responsibilities of EQC and private insurers when it comes to claims handling and settlement payments.
  • Establishes the Natural Disaster Fund, which will provide a backstop for insurers and reinsurers in the event of a large-scale natural disaster. 
  • Home and business owners must make a claim within three months of the event, failing which EQC can decline the claim as being out of time. 
  • Provides for dispute resolution through an independent tribunal. 

Shine Lawyers can help

Shine Lawyers have expert lawyers who have years’ experience dealing with EQCover claims. We can give you practical advice and guide you through the process of making a claim and review any offers you are made by EQC or your insurer to ensure you receive the entitlement you deserve. We can also help engage with experts and instruct engineers on your behalf should you need to provide expert evidence of your own to EQC or your insurer.

Our team will investigate your claim, explain all the options available to you and provide advice on securing the best outcome for your house or land.

Get in touch today to discuss your options.


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