Before the Sentencing Amendment Act 2014 came into force in December 2014, in most situations where a victim was injured physically in the accident, the only compensation available for financial losses was under the Accident Compensation Act 2001.

However, ACC payments could leave victims out of pocket due to the limited amounts payable by ACC. 

The Sentencing Amendment Act allows the courts to order the person at fault to compensate victims of bodily injury for their financial losses over and above what ACC pays by way of reparation. This doesn’t replace ACC but provides a ‘top up’ where ordered by a court.  The court can only make an order of reparation when the person at fault has been convicted of a crime and is being sentenced.

Recently Vero conducted research into people’s awareness of the legislation and concerns they may have around the changes. The research showed few people (13%) were aware of the new Act, but most people support its introduction. 

Vero have updated their wordings to now include cover for:

1. Civil liability for bodily injury

This covers a person’s liability to pay compensation in a civil claim for bodily injury including emotional harm claims. While the AMP’s commercial policies always covered liability to pay compensation in a civil claim for both accidental property damage claims and bodily injury and emotional harm claims, AMP’s domestic insurance policies covered only the former.  Now we have introduced cover for liability to pay compensation for accidental bodily injury including emotional harm into the home, home contents, motor vehicle and boat sections of our domestic and rural insurance policies.  As before, there is cover for legal defence costs and any costs incurred by the plaintiff (claimant) that those responsible are liable to pay.

2. Reparation

This covers liability to pay a reparation order made at a sentencing hearing to a victim who has suffered accidental property damage or accidental bodily injury. It applies only in criminal proceedings.

To address the changes brought by the Sentencing Amendment Act 2014, we now cover liability for reparation for accidental bodily injury. Vero have taken this opportunity to also provide cover for liability to pay reparation* for accidental property damage in those of the policies which previously did not have this cover.

What will we be doing?

To ensure our clients are best protected, Vero will be updating the home, contents, motor, boat and liability sections of our commercial, domestic and rural policies. The parts we have updated relate specifically to civil liability for bodily injury and reparation.

Important note: This change is effective immediately so our customers have the benefit of this change. As this change encompasses commercial, domestic and rural insurance products we will be communicating to our policy holders soon. However should you have any queries regarding this, please do not hesitate in contacting your Adviser.