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Clarification of MBIE's role in the residential guidance and homeowner insurance policies

Posted: 29 January 2016

Text of a clarification letter sent to insurers.

Clarification of the role of the MBIE residential guidance and homeowner insurance policies.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s technical guidance “Repairing and rebuilding houses affected by the Canterbury earthquakes” is published by the Chief Executive under section 175 of the Building Act. It is only guidance and therefore not binding on any parties. The purpose of section 175 guidance is to assist parties to comply with the Building Act.

The objective in developing the guidance was to get all parties (homeowner, insurer, designer, project management offices, councils) on the same page to assist with the recovery by providing good practice advice relating to assessment and repairs, and for rebuilds to have improved resilience, particularly in liquefaction-prone areas. The need for guidance was based on the experience of other international recoveries where recovery activities had been delayed by technical disputes.

The aim was to provide the sector with the best information available on a timely basis to assist the rebuild, with progressive updates in response to new issues, new knowledge, new developments, and requests for clarification as the rebuild progressed.

The guidance provides technical solutions that comply with the Building Act and Building Code. It is not a substitute for the policy homeowners have with their insurer, which will take precedence. The Ministry’s guidance provides good practice repair solutions, but does not address insurance entitlement. Entitlements provided by insurers’ policies may be greater than or equal to the repair and rebuild solutions provided by the MBIE guidance depending on the wording of the individual policies.

Homeowners offered repair strategies by their insurer should clarify with their insurer that the proposed solution is based on their policy entitlement.

For further clarification, please see section 8 of the Ministry’s technical guidance document – insurance and regulatory requirements.

Part B: Technical Information

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: