Insurer tackles meth contamination confusion

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Uncertainty is rife when it comes to meth contamination but one insurer is working to bring clarity on the issue to its home and landlord policies.

By Miriam Bell

Insurance giant IAG, which has NZI, State and AMI in its stable of brands, received an average of 60 claims for meth contamination every month over the past year.

And, across its brands, the insurer is seeing the number of claims related to the meth contamination of properties increasing.

But IAG corporate affairs manager Craig Dowling said that, like a range of issues related to meth, insurance for contamination can be complex due to different views and expectations,

“Because meth contamination of homes is a relatively new phenomenon, different policy wordings can lead to different outcomes at claims time and that is generally not a good experience for anyone.

“As a result we are aligning terms across our brands over time and seeking to communicate clearly what expectations customers can have of us, and what we have of them as homeowner.”

IAG is also making policy changes which, with conditions, will extend cover to all homeowner insurance policies, including landlord policies.

In future, claim acceptance will be based on the presence of contamination in a property - irrespective of whether it was caused through manufacture or use.

The maximum claimable amount will be increased to $30,000, but excesses for meth contamination claims will be raised from the standard excess of $400 to $2500.

Given most contamination claims involve rental properties, landlords will see some increases to their premiums.

But landlord premium increases will depend on the policy and will range from between $40 to $130 per annum.

IAG said that claims for contamination of contents in properties will not be accepted as it is too difficult to determine the timing and nature of any event causing contamination.

Dowling said the insurer has also released an e-book on meth contamination, which is being distributed via the AMI brand and to brokers in NZI’s network.

“We are sharing advice and tips for people unsure of what to do in different circumstances.”

IAG’s announcement is the latest in a series of developments aimed at tackling widespread uncertainty over anything to do with the meth contamination of properties, particularly rental properties.

Public consultation on the draft standard for the testing and remediation of meth contaminated properties recently closed and the new standard is expected to be ready by the end of April.

Meanwhile, National MP Andrew Bayly’s Residential Tenancies (Methamphetamine) Bill, which would give landlords more power to test and remediate their rental properties, is waiting to be pulled from the private member’s ballot.

Read more:

Moving forward on meth contamination 

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