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What you need to know about the Natural Hazards Insurance Act

From 1 July 2024, the Commission will welcome new governing legislation, the Natural Hazards Insurance Act 2023. The NHI Act replaces the Earthquake Commission Act 1993.  

The Act sets out our organisation’s primary objective, to reduce the impact of natural hazards on people, property and the community.    

Making our role for New Zealand clearer 

Significantly, the Act introduces our new name, Natural Hazards Commission Toka Tū Ake. Our new name will help New Zealanders better understand our scheme and organisation, and that we are here to support New Zealand to prepare for and recover from a range of natural hazards, including earthquakes, tsunami, landslips, volcanic activity and hydrothermal activity, as well as storms and floods.   

Auckland floods 2023

Making a natural hazards claim from 1 July 

As with our current model, insured homeowners will still have a single point of contact and be able to lodge their claim directly through their private insurer.  

The Act will apply to new claims for natural hazard damage to residential properties that happens on or after 1 July 2024. 

EQCover claims can still be lodged for damage that occurred before 1 July 2024 and the relevant EQC Act entitlements will apply. 

Improvements for homeowners who have a natural hazards claim are also introduced, including a Code of Insured Persons’ Rights and an external dispute resolution scheme.   

We want to make sure the Code and scheme work well for insured homeowners and have undertaken public consultation for both. Thank you to everyone who took part in this consultation.   

Clarifying our insurance cover 

We know that insurance is fundamental to community recovery following a natural hazard event and it is important homeowners take out appropriate insurance and understand their policies and what they are covered for.

While the cover provided by our scheme remains largely the same, the Act also introduces changes for clarity, including making the rules for mixed-use buildings clearer, simplifying excesses for claims, and changing cover for retaining walls, bridges and culverts.

Between now and July, we are updating the information and materials available on our website to support understanding of our insurance scheme and our organisation.  

Continuing to work together 

Over the next few months, we will continue to share information to support awareness and understanding of these changes.  

We can only reduce the impact of natural hazards by building effective partnerships, sharing expertise, and by connecting with organisations throughout the motu to reach all our communities.

Our new Act underpins what we want to achieve for New Zealand, and we look forward to continuing to work together towards these goals.