26 Apr 2012

Owners plead for help over skyrocketing insurance

7:24 am on 26 April 2012

Apartment owners in Wellington are calling on the city's council and the Government to help them out as they face large insurance premium rises.

Body corporates are required by law to take out full building insurance, including earthquake cover, which has increased considerably since the Canterbury earthquakes.

Insurance for the historic Dominion Post building has jumped from $54,000 to $191,000 in the space of two years.

Apartment owner and recent US immigrant Cy Kennedy says it should be up to the individual to choose whether they take out earthquake cover, the system he says applies in Los Angeles.

Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson says the Government should to take a serious look at the situation body corporates are in, as the market is yet to correct itself.

Wellington City Council says it is in talks with the Insurance Council.

Building owners are also grappling with whether to carry out earthquake strengthening now or wait until the Government has set a higher building standard, which could be 2013 at the earliest.

Residents say they don't expect handouts, but don't think they alone should be funding the cost of the strengthening.

Wellington City Council earthquake resilience programme manager Neville Brown says the council is working with the Government on a law change to allow body corporates to borrow on behalf of their residents.