Can insurers change the meaning of policies and what is a timely response.

Can an insurance company add words to an insurance policy through written or verbal communication with a homeowner that in effect changes the meaning of the policy/contract?

Are insurance companies obliged to respond to homeowners in a timely way? How long is it reasonable for a homeowner to wait eg for a response to a letter.

Asked: 23 June 2015

Category: Insurance

Answers

Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ)

24 August 2015

Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) advises:

Q. No, there is no current time limit on responses. The Fair Insurance Code 2016, which comes into force on 1 January 2016, will introduce claims response time frames. If you haven’t heard from your insurer in a while, you can contact them and ask for an update.
http://www.icnz.org.nz/for-consumers/your-rights/fair-insurance-code/

A. Yes. There is usually a clause in insurance policies which allow the terms of the policy to be changed on written notice by the insurer.

Q. Are insurance companies obliged to respond to homeowners in a timely way? How long is it reasonable for a homeowner to wait eg for a response to a letter.

A. No, there is no current time limit on responses. The Fair Insurance Code 2016, which comes into force on 1 January 2016, will introduce claims response time frames. If you haven’t heard from your insurer in a while, you can contact them and ask for an update. http://www.icnz.org.nz/for-consumers/your-rights/fair-insurance-code/

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