Changes to Earthquake Commission Act Announced

Changes to Earthquake Commission Act Announced

The Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Megan Woods has recently announced changes to the EQC scheme.

Woods said, “The changes that we have agreed on will improve how the Act functions and enable the scheme to work more effectively for future natural disasters. These are widely agreed, common sense changes that can be made before the independent inquiry into EQC. I’ve asked for them to be brought forward so that, if the worst did happen and we had a major event shortly, these changes will have been made.“

The changes simplify and speed up the claims process, and resolve issues with the EQC Act that have previously been identified by the Ombudsman and the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.”

The changes include:

  • Increasing the cap limit on EQC residential building cover to $150,000 (plus GST).
  • Enabling EQC to accept claim notifications for up to two years after a natural disaster, rather than the current three-month time limit for such notifications.
  • Removing EQC insurance cover for contents.
  • Clarifying EQC’s authority to share information to support the implementation of the EQC Act and settlement of insurance claims and where this is in the public interest and safety (A recommendation of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission).

According to Woods, “Removing cover for contents will increase EQC’s ability to allocate more resources when responding to a natural disaster and help reduce any delays in resolving residential building and land damage claims.“  Government has talked to the insurers and indication is that that private insurance cover for contents will continue to be available at a reasonable cost.“

It is expected that this change, and the increase to the cap limit for EQC residential building cover, will come into effect on 1 July 2019.

If you are concerned about how these changes may affect your insurance cover and premiums, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your insurance advisor.


Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your broker to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy.

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