What a year it’s been!
What was heading to be a benign year for claims was turned on its head in the last quarter. It’s too early to count the losses, but the Sky City Convention Centre fire, the Timaru hailstorm and the floods of early December will produce a chunky claims number.
While it was a quiet year for claims for most of the year, it was the busiest by any measure for submissions on consultation papers, legislation and regulations. It won’t let up next year either. The bigger ticket and ‘known’ items include conduct of financial institutions and accompanying regulations, draft insurance contract law legislation, the review of the Insurance Prudential Supervision Act, the funding of Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the future EQC scheme.
As the year draws toward a close, this is the time when you can make some wishes for the year ahead. So, indulge me with 10 wishes for 2020:
- Well considered, timely consultation by Government on changes to the sector. Insurance is complicated, so haste will only cause more problems than it fixes. We don’t want one size fits all approaches either as what is good for one sector may not work for insurance.
- Better and timely communications to customers, so they understand their policies and why pricing changes are happening. If the insurance promise isn’t understood, then we can’t match customer expectations and restore trust in the sector.
- Regulators and politicians, please acknowledge the good we do. It’s a fair call to black us when performance is poor, but there’s a lot of good being done too. Regulators, if you’re really serious about rebuilding public trust together with our sector, then please be more even-handed with the commentary.
- That there is high public awareness of the revised Fair Insurance Code and the standards it sets for all dealings with customers that are well above what the law requires.
- Underwriters and brokers work more closely together for the sake of the sector’s reputation overall and the end customer that supports us all. Everyone loses unless we ensure customers lie at the heart of our decisions.
- Resilience moves from being a buzz word to one of action. New Zealand’s natural hazards make us a very risky country, but we have a long way to go to counter that with a truly resilient culture. Seismic resilience needs embedding in building codes, not just life risk measures.
- That a unique New Zealand risk platform for earthquake and flood property risk is well advanced and supported by excellent science and insurance loss data and will be accessible to help others make risk reduction trade-offs.
- That New Zealand continues to be attractive to offshore capital support for the risks we face.
- That New Zealand follows the rest of the world and removes the unfair tax on insurance that is used to fund Fire and Emergency New Zealand. Stop the free-loading and create a simpler and more efficient way to fund it.
- That people heading away for Christmas keep their property safe. Avoid the tell-tale signs that you’re away. And if you’re lucky enough to get an expensive present, check whether it needs to be added to the policy. And if you’re letting others use your house while you’re away, check with your insurer.
And an extra wish - that everyone has a safe, happy and relaxing Christmas with family and friends, so you come back recharged to crack into the year ahead.