24 Jul 2018

Insurance giant raises premiums for disaster-prone areas

12:19 pm on 24 July 2018

New Zealand's biggest insurance company IAG is raising home insurance prices in areas at the greatest risk from natural disasters.

A house at Bluff Station between Blenheim & Kaikoura, which is right on the Kekerengu fault line, was demolished by the shakes.

People living in the Kaikōura region, which suffered severe damage in the 2016 shake, are facing higher premiums. Photo: RNZ / Alex Perrottet

Customers in areas at higher risk of natural hazards, such as earthquakes, floods and landslips, are expected to see a $91 average increase in their total yearly premium.

IAG - which has the AMI and State Insurance brands - said people living in Whakatāne, Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Marlborough, Kaikōura, the West Coast and Dunedin would pay higher premiums to reflect the higher risk.

About 40 customers would be the hardest hit, with one facing a $1000 rise in annual premiums.

Those in less risky areas, such as the upper North Island, Taranaki, Otago and Southland, and Greater Wellington, would pay an average of $54 less a year.

"We know New Zealand has many natural hazards, including earthquakes and floods, with different risks in different regions. In the past, the price people pay for home insurance hasn't fully reflected these differences in risk. This is now changing," IAG spokesperson Kevin Hughes said.

He said the decision on where to raise or lower prices has been based on data from two years of home insurance pay-outs, with prices rising in areas where the most natural disaster-related claims were made.

"Over the past few years, we've seen how New Zealand's environmental risks have evolved, and we're taking these risks more into account," Mr Hughes said.

AMI and State policyholders will find out what their premium rise or fall will be when their annual renewal notices come through.

Tower moved in April to risk-related insurance premiums, resulting in some consumers facing bills thousands of dollars higher.

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