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EQC changes name under legislative shake-up

New Zealand’s Earthquake Commission has today taken the new name of Natural Hazards Commission Toka Tu Ake under an update of the insurance scheme’s legislation.

A new Natural Hazards Insurance Act replaces the EQC Act concerning damage to residential properties from earthquakes, landslips, volcanoes, tsunamis and hydrothermal activity.

The government says making claims after natural disasters will become easier under the changes.

Toka Tu Ake translates as “the foundation from which we stand strong together”.

CEO Tina Mitchell says the commission exists to reduce the impact of natural hazards by providing baseline property cover for insured homeowners, investing in research and education to build more resilient communities, and helping to build readiness.

“The new act reinforces and strengthens this role and modernises our governing legislation to ensure we are better set up to meet the needs of homeowners now and in the future.”

The act creates a clearer process around claim excesses and calculations for retaining walls, bridges and culverts. Homeowners will have increased cover for mixed-use buildings such as apartments in commercial buildings, and there is a new Code of Insured Persons’ Rights and an independent dispute resolution service.

In recent years, the EQC established a world-first agreement with eight private insurers, putting an end to the double handling of natural disaster claims seen after the Canterbury quake sequence. Under the model, private insurers assess, manage and settle the entire claim up to the sum insured. Claimants will still lodge with their insurer to access entitlements from the commission following any event.