Cost of insurance skyrocketing – especially in quake-prone Wellington | 1 NEWS

Insurance premiums around the country are rising, with new research showing those in Wellington are facing the steepest price hikes.

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Those in the capital are facing the greatest premium hikes.
Source: 1 NEWS

Consumer New Zealand is calling on the government to take action after home insurance costs increased more than 150 per cent over the past decade.

The organisation compared insurance quotes from eight insurers, finding a median cost of $2386 for standard cover on a house in Wellington, per year.

That’s almost $500 more than Christchurch ($1892) and about $670 more dear than Auckland ($1718).

Jessica Wilson of Consumer New Zealand said “it is a real concern for us that insurance is become quite pricey – there is a bigger role here for EQC”.

Tim Grafton of the Insurance Council said premium levels in past years had been “grossly under-priced for the actual risk”.

Apartments were not included in the survey, but at one Wellington apartment complex, the owners are paying $7000 each per year for insurance, and they say it has risen by 30 per cent in the past year.

Even earthquake strengthening of a building is not bringing down insurance costs.

“That is a life-safety measure – yes, essential, but it’s got nothing to do with the structural resilience of that building, which is what the insurer is under-writing,” Mr Grafton said.

The Insurance Council says buildings constructed on top of dedicated earthquake base isolators are the new gold standard – only with those can lower premiums be considered.

Nicola Willis, National Party candidate for Wellington central, said National would commit to “sitting down with insurers and saying help us understand this”.

Labour candidate Grant Robertson said “we want to make sure there’s a fair price” but also that “there’s a good market within the insurance industry”.

Green candidate James Shaw said more transparency is needed on the formula by which insurance premiums are calculated.

Consumer New Zealand has suggested that the government undertake a review of natural disaster insurance coverage.

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