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Review set to drag on

27 Oct 2016

The long-running Treasury-led review of the Earthquake Commission's funding and policy structures is set to drag into the 2017 election year as consultation on proposed changes throws up a number of thorny issues.

The government's financial adviser put up a series of proposals in July last year, with the preferred options to double EQC's payout amount, scrap contents insurance and process claims through private insurers. Submissions closed on Sept. 11, 2015, and the government had intended to introduce legislation early this year, though the Treasury today said it was still actively working on the review.

"This phase has taken longer than expected due to the complexity of the issues and ongoing engagement with insurance industry stakeholders," a spokesman said in an emailed statement. "Ministers have made no decisions regarding the timing of the release of submissions or introduction of an EQC bill. Officials anticipate that it will be sometime in 2017."

The government has already got a hurry-up on the review, putting out last year's discussion document five months after global reinsurers publicly grumbled that the delays were making it difficult for them to operate in an uncertain environment.

The review was launched in September 2012 to gauge the government's disaster contingency fund's future after its resources were exhausted by the Canterbury quakes that caused billions of dollars of damage and killed 185 people. The decision was initially meant to be wrapped up by mid-2013.

EQC has been participating in the review, and in its 2014-18 statement of intent, it says it believes the act has "performed well and is fundamentally sound", though there was room to improve "in terms of increasing clarity and reducing complexity".

 - Scoop (BusinessDesk)

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