Westpac breaks insurance deadlock in Christchurch

Westpac has broken Christchurch's insurance deadlock with policies for new construction and full replacement home and contents policies.

The lack of available insurance has left hundreds in limbo and unable to get on with rebuilding their lives after the earthquakes. To overcome that, Westpac and partner, Lumley lnsurance, has secured international reinsurance backing. Westpac hopes, by being the first major financial institution in New Zealand to do so, it will help open up the  market.

Westpac Managing Director Private, Wealth and lnsurance, Simon Power, said customer feedback was the driver in persevering to put the 'canterbury New Build pac' together.

"We have listened to the frustration and anguish many of our customers have experienced through the lack of available insurance to  build a new home and have been determined to find a practical solution," Mr Power said,

"Now, not only do we hope this helps people move on but it also goes some way to opening up the market.

"Dealing with the issues that have arisen from the earthquakes has required thinking outside the square and what we've done here is create an end to end  solution so people can get out of no man's land and get on with their lives with confidence."

The 'Canterbury New Build  Pac'combines a Westpac Home Loan, transactional account and Contract works and Home cover and is for new and existing Westpac customers who are ready to start on residential builds or purchase  new residential builds in Canterbury, and have all appropriate consents but have not progressed due to being unable to secure insurance cover.

Contract works cover, which is included in the Pac, is for a maximum period of 12  months and includes protection from natural disasters and earthquakes.

Home cover will be  on a 'sum ínsured' basis meaning customers insure for full replacement, up to the specified value. Sum  insured is common overseas and is expected to become the norm here after the earthquakes changed the country's risk profile in the reinsurance market.