For legislation to make insurance companies settle claims in a timely manner and in policy

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The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has called for public input to an Insurance Contract Law Review. Many home owners and families have been effected by the devastating Canterbury earthquake sequence. The events have caused hardship and financial loss to thousands of ordinary people who thought they had the protection of and insurance policy.
We petition the government and the reviewers to consider the following and to provide provision to protect the ordinary person from the imbalance of power that exists.
The insurers carried out a systematic process of delay, deny, defend and deflect. This caused us anguish, sleepless nights, uncertainty and financial loss to thousands of people.
The issues that we feel need to be addressed in the review:
• Time taken to settle claims
• The offer by insurance providers that are out of policy
• The power imbalance between the insured (no power) and the insurer.
It is clear to us that the insurance industry is more interested in protecting their share holders and their profits rather than honoring their policies (contracts) and protecting the interests of the policy holder (consumers).
Any revision of the Insurance Contract Law should include:
• A time limit on settlement of claims with penalties for delays.
• A declaration by the insurance company that an offer of settlement or repair is either in policy or out of policy with penalties for wrongful declaration.
The Power imbalance between the insured and the insurers is very evident. The insurers have the power of time and financial superiority over the insured. This imbalance needs to be rectified by providing the insured with pathways to timely and fair settlements of claims.