Here is an example of how our work has influenced public policy this week.
The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) have launched a campaign to have the Fire Service funded instead by means other than levies on insuarnce - advocating that this be funded by a mix of a charge on residential and commercial properties to be (collected along with territorial authority rates), a small charge (around $5) in the registration fees for motor vehicles, and increased Government funding for non-property non-vehicle related services.
The ICNZ case is based upon a series of reports produced by Michael Dunn and his colleagues Derek Gill and Killian Destremau at NZIER, now published on the ICNZ website: http://www.icnz.org.nz/urgent-change-required-to-unfair-insurance-based-fire-service-levy/ . Michael led the research and modelling of alternative funding mechanisms, and was the principal author of the first and second reports. The third report is a summary of findings and recommendations.
Insurance levies contributed more than $330 million of the approximately $360 million cost of funding fire services in New Zealand during the 2012/13 fiscal year. More than half of the work of the fire services (the New Zealand Fire Service and the regional Rural Fire Services) is not directly related to fire prevention and fighting fires. They provide rescue services for vehicle and other accidents, emergency protection following storms and floods, and in many areas now provide a first-responder service for medical emergencies.
The link between insurance and the funding of fire services is largely historical, with insurance companies once having their own independent fire services, but that is no longer relevant today. Most Australian States have moved from insurance-levy funding to property-based funding of their fire and emergency servies in recent years. New Zealand should follow.