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A new Members’ Bill pulled from the ballot today would introduce a legal timeline for insurance companies to assess and present a settlement offer to claimants, MP for Kaikoura Stuart Smith says.

“I have heard from too many people affected by the Kaikoura and Christchurch earthquakes that dealing with insurance was more stressful than the earthquake itself. My Members’ Bill aims to make life a little easier for people who are dealing with the long term effects like losing their home.

“The Insurance (Prompt Settlement of Claims for Uninhabitable Residential Property) Bill will provide a timeline for when insurance companies must act by.

“My Bill will require an insurer to make a decision about a claim and notify claimants within six months of receiving the claim. This will speed up the process and give claimants greater clarity about when they can expect a resolution, which will help ease stress during difficult times.

“While people are required to have their insurance premiums up to date, there is currently no time requirement for insurers to assess claims and make an offer. There must be clearer understanding of obligations both for the insured and the insurer as to the time it will take for an offer to be made.

“In extreme circumstances the Minister will have discretion to grant an extension to the six month deadline.

“It’s important that after events like the Kaikoura and Christchurch earthquakes we work to identify lessons and make changes to improve our response for future events.

“Putting into law a deadline for insurance companies to make an offer to claimants will be a positive step forward.”

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