The Mayor was responding to an announcement by Insurance Australia Group (IAG) – New Zealand's largest general insurer – that it will start to charge higher home and contents premiums for customers who live in areas prone to natural disasters and severe weather.
“IAG has between 40 and 50 percent of the Wellington market, so this could potentially affect a lot of our residents,” he says.
“This will be a daunting prospect for those facing increasing premiums on the homes they already own, and also make it even more difficult for first home buyers.”
The Mayor says he had raised the issue with Megan Woods, the Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission, and he will be convening an insurance forum and inviting the Insurance Council, IAG, body corporate and home owner representatives who are significantly affected by premium increases.
“I want to canvas issues in the Wellington market and look at the immediate and long-term future for people needing insurance.
“It may be that the Government needs to consider what insurance companies are required to offer in a market, and they may have to offer an affordable option where they operate.
“Residents, businesses and property owners are now facing the prospect of higher premiums. Some may not be able to afford it.
“Insurance is crucial for a city. It has to be available and affordable for banks to lend, for businesses to operate efficiently, and for people to have peace of mind.”