Insurance taskforce must deliver for city and business

Date Added: 30th August 2019 from

Today's first meeting of the Mayoral Insurance Taskforce is a useful step forward in Wellington responding to the dramatically changing insurance market, says Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

"Rapidly rising insurance premiums are concerning for all local businesses and households, so it is pleasing to see the efforts to understand the risks better and how insurance companies are responding," says Chief Executive John Milford.

"The Chamber spoke at the original forum in June and highlighted the challenges facing our city. We look forward to the assembled experts in this taskforce developing recommendations for both local and central governments to consider.

"The property insurance market is currently not serving consumers well. One example is a typical commercial office block in Wellington that has seen its insurance premiums rise 220 per cent in just four years, from $99,000 in 2016 to almost $320,000 this year.

"Premiums are rising for business continuity insurance as well as property insurance. Such increases in a business's fixed costs impact on their ability to grow or hire more workers.

"Property insurance premiums are just one of many increasing costs for businesses on top of rising rents, rising rates, employment law changes, and more. Businesses need solutions.

"And this doesn't just affect businesses; residential households are also facing steep premium increases. In some cases, this has led to families not being able to insure their home.

"One area of concern is the taskforce's lack of consumer voices. While body corporates are included, neither business nor household views are represented. We hope this does not compromise the final recommendations developed.

"If the taskforce is to consider fundamental issues, such as whether parts of the city are uninsurable, we urge them to consult with the affected community before developing potential responses."