Insurance for new homes in Christchurch
Mon, 10 Sep 2012 6:00p.m.
By Annabelle Tukia
One of the country's biggest banks is entering the insurance market to break what it calls an insurance deadlock in Canterbury since the quakes.
Westpac will team up with Lumley, but their cover will reflect how times have changed.
Instead of full replacement should disaster strike again, the policy will stipulate a specified amount to be paid out.
Roger Keith has been living in a caravan at a holiday park and he wants to build a new home at Silverstream Estate. But his insurance company has been a stumbling block.
“My understanding is there are building companies out there offering insurance, but as an individual wanting to build a house I can't get insurance,” says the Kaiapoi resident.
Now Westpac has entered the insurance game, with former MP Simon Power - who now works at the bank - announcing they have teamed up with Lumley to offer policies on new residential policies.
“Because of the lack of insurance that was available we decided it was time for some action,” says Mr Power.
Westpac with Lumley Insurance will offer home cover on a sum-insured basis, meaning customers insure their homes for full replacement up to a specified amount.
“It is slightly different but it’s the nature of where insurance is heading globally,” says Mr Power. “We did see a handful of customers who talked to us about the fact, for example, the square meterage on their property was wrong, which may have left them underinsured. We want to make sure we don’t fall into that position again. That’s why the square meterage proposition for full replacement is moving over for lump-sum cover.”
How the insured value of the homes will be reviewed, Mr Power says will have to be worked through with individual customers. But insurance brokers are urging customers to read the fine print.
“I think it’s an interesting move,” says Gary Young, Insurance Brokers Association chief executive. “I think from the public’s point-of-view what they need to be very careful of is that they understand exactly what it is that they're offering and to make sure they get good advice to insure that it suits their needs.”
For people like Roger Keith, still trapped in no-mans-land, this could just the step forward he needs to get a new home.
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