Insurer pays out $511m

17:00, May 21 2013
Arts Centre
MAMMOTH REPAIRS: Restoration work is under way on the Arts Centre, which settled a $156 million claim with ACS, formerly Ansvar.

Insurer of churches, schools and historic buildings Ansvar paid out $511 million of claims last year, settling more than three-quarters of the earthquake claims lodged with the company.

That's according to the company's latest financial results, for the year to December 2012, published yesterday.

Ansvar was inundated with claims after the Canterbury earthquakes and withdrew from the New Zealand insurance market at the end of 2011, leaving policyholders wondering if their claims would be met.

The company changed its name from Ansvar to ACS (NZ) Ltd to reflect the fact that it is only settling existing claims and not offering any new insurance in New Zealand.

In its latest financial results, ACS estimates its total liabilities in the next five years now stand about $248.8m, most of which is in quake-related claims. About $226m is due to the company in the form of reinsurance money.

The company had net assets of $14.7m at the end of last year, meaning it was solvent.

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ACS said the financial position of the company had improved significantly during the year and its capital exceeded the Reserve Bank's requirements.

In June last year, a scheme proposed by ACS directors to manage a system of payment of claims if the insurer became insolvent was sanctioned by the policyholders and the High Court.

At the time, the Reserve Bank raised concerns about ACS remaining solvent, saying there was a risk that claimants who settled early would be best served, while those at the back of the queue could be at risk of a reduced or no payout.

ACS has maintained it will be able to settle all claims in full.

St Andrew's College general manager David Evans said the school was "making positive progress" towards settling its claim with ACS, but he would not reveal the size of the claim.

FOR THE RECORD

ACS (NZ) has paid $511 million of claims. Total assets were $263.5m, including reinsurance recoveries receivable of $226.3m, at December 31 last year. ACS estimates total liabilities of $248.8m in the next five years. Net assets were $14.7m.

MAJOR CLAIMS

The Arts Centre has settled all claims for $163 million. The bulk of its claim was with Ansvar New Zealand (now ACS Ltd) for $156m. The final $6.75m was settled with Lumley Insurance late last year. Church Property Trustees' claims included a $38m claim for the Christ Church Cathedral.

The Press