Insurance industry 'now wary of NZ'

8:48 pm on 15 June 2011

The Insurance Council says overseas insurers have become wary of New Zealand after Monday's earthquakes in Christchurch and higher premiums throughout the country are almost inevitable.

Chief executive Chris Ryan says the Canterbury earthquakes, the first of which occurred on 4 September last year, have become the biggest insured earthquake event of all time, with a cost of about $10 billion expected.

Mr Ryan told Morning Report on Wednesday that in other quake-prone areas such as Japan and California, it is impossible to get the level of insurance coverage New Zealanders are accustomed to.

Although insurance will undoubtedly become more expensive, competition should ensure it is still affordable, he says.

The Earthquake Commission says it will not be affected because all of its reinsurance was secured after the September and February quakes.