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Natural Hazards Insurance Act

From 1 July 2024 we will have new governing legislation, the Natural Hazards Insurance Act 2023. This Act modernises and replaces the Earthquake Commission Act 1993, and sets our primary objective, to reduce the impact of natural hazards on people, property and the community. 

With extreme weather and claims for natural hazards on the rise, the new Act ensures that New Zealanders can continue to have one of the world’s highest rates of residential property insurance.

The Natural Hazards Insurance Act takes into account lessons learnt from the Canterbury earthquake sequence, the Kaikōura earthquake, and other natural hazard events, as well as the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission completed in 2020.

Our new name – Natural Hazards Commission Toka Tū Ake

From 1 July, the Earthquake Commission Toka Tū Ake will become the Natural Hazards Commission Toka Tū Ake.

Our new name better reflects the range of natural hazards we provide cover for, including tsunami, landslides, volcanic activity, earthquakes and geothermal activity. It also  represents the role we play in supporting New Zealanders to understand those hazards, and to both prepare for and recover from natural hazards when they occur.

How the NHI Act affects cover and claims

The Natural Hazards Insurance Act introduces changes to improve the experience of homeowners who need to make a natural hazards insurance claim. While the cover provided by our scheme remains largely the same, some areas have been adjusted to provide clearer and more consistent rules for assessing claims and to make calculations simpler.

The Act makes the rules for mixed-use buildings clearer, it clarifies law relating to repairing buildings and land following a landslide or other land damage, and simplifies the excesses and calculations for retaining walls, bridges and culverts.

When making a claim, the date the natural disaster damaged occurred will affect whether a claim is subject to the Natural Hazards Insurance Act 2023, or the Earthquake Commission Act 1993.

If you are making a claim for damage that occurred:

  • On, or after 1 July 2024, your claim is subject to the NHI Act, and is referred to as an NHCover claim.
  • Before 1 July 2024, your claim is subject to the EQC Act, and is referred to as an EQCover claim.

We’ll publish more information our website about the differences in cover after 1 July.

A better experience for homeowners

One way that we are improving the experience of homeowners under the new Act is by clearly defining their rights in a new Code of Insured Persons Rights. We will also offer a new external dispute service for homeowners to dispute the outcome of their claim.

A new code of rights for insured people

From 1 July 2024, the Code will apply when we, or anyone acting on our behalf, interact with homeowners in relation to a claim for damage covered under the NHI Act. Homeowners will be able to complain to us if they think there has been a breach of the Code.

Any complaints under this Code will be dealt with in line with an official complaints process. If we find that there has been a breach of the Code, we will work to resolve it. If the insured person is unhappy with that outcome, they can apply for an independent review of the decision.

We publicly consulted on the Code in November 2023. From 1 July the Code and the complaint procedures will be published on our website.

A new disputes resolution scheme

If a homeowner is unhappy with the outcome of their claim, they can make a complaint to us, their insurer, take the dispute to court or raise a complaint with the ombudsman.

From 1 July we are introducing a new disputes resolution scheme so that homeowners have access to an external service for disputes that are not resolved internally. We have based the new scheme on best practice for dispute resolution and will be accessible, independent, fair, accountable, efficient, and effective.

The disputes resolution scheme will be available for disputes about NHCover claims that happen on or after 1 July 2024.

We publicly consulted on the dispute resolution scheme in March 2024. We will publish the dispute resolution process on our website from 1 July 2024.