The Wellington City Council this week hosted the first of three Wellington Insurance Taskforce meetings.
The Taskforce was formed after Mayor Justin Lester hosted a Wellington insurance forum in June. It was felt important that the Government received feedback about insurance issues as they apply to the Wellington commercial, body corporate and residential sectors at a time of rising premiums.
The Taskforce is chaired by the Mayor and its membership includes representatives of the Insurance Council of New Zealand, Body Corporates, Engineering New Zealand, Risk analysts, GNS Science, Insurance legal specialists, property developers and disaster specialists.
“Wellingtonians have expressed concern about changes in the Wellington insurance market and what that means for premiums,” the Mayor said.
“These Taskforce meetings and recommendations are about the future insurability of Wellington. We want to make sure we’re ahead of required changes, rather than behind them, and that there’s openness and understanding of insurance pricing.”
The aim of the Taskforce is to determine how Wellington will respond to trends in the insurability of the city, with particular regard to property and business continuity insurance pricing and accessibility.
The Taskforce will also look at broader issues in the property insurance market and test ideas with regard to potential policy interventions. It will explore connections between city planning and insurability against natural hazards, including climate change and sea level rise, and will consider strategic options if parts of the city are uninsurable.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has asked that the Taskforce consider the following:
· What changes to property insurance pricing and availability have occurred in Wellington for residential, commercial and multi-unit buildings.
· The current uptake of property insurance in Wellington for residential, commercial and multi-unit buildings, and how common it is for property owners to be unable to secure full replacement or indemnity cover.
· The main hazard and vulnerability factors driving rising property insurance premiums.
· Other problems contribution to insurance affordability of access issues.
The first Taskforce meeting heard presentations from Kelvin Berryman of GNS Science on the latest science on the Wellington fault line and Terry Jordan of the Insurance Council on the structure of the New Zealand insurance sector.
The next two meetings will be in September 19 and October 8, after which recommendations will be drawn up.
The recommendations will be forwarded to the Minister of Finance in late October. The recommendations will also go to the Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Kris Faafoi, the Minister for Building and Construction, Jenny Salesa, and Treasury.