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Frequently asked questions about the HBC reforms

Here are answers to questions builders and tradespeople have been asking about the home building compensation reforms.

What has changed as a result of the home building compensation reforms?

Nothing has changed for builders just yet, so you can continue to:

  • go through your broker to get eligibility assessments and certificates of insurance
  • visit the icare website for information at www.icare.nsw.gov.au

Do I have a choice of insurer yet?

No, icare remains the only licensed insurer in the home building compensation (HBC) market in NSW.

Is split cover being offered yet?

No, but recent law changes mean that cover can be offered as two separate contracts of insurance (split cover) by licensed private operators in the HBC market from early 2018.

Split cover will double the total cover for the homeowner to a minimum of $680,000, including:

  • construction period cover, with a minimum of $340,000 for the risks of non-completion* and associated defects during construction, and
  • warranty period cover, with a minimum of $340,000 for the risks of defects after completion.

If a contractor or home owner chooses split cover, they must purchase both construction and warranty period cover.

The existing minimum of $340,000 in combined cover will continue to be available as a single product for non-completion and defects within the statutory warranty period.

When will other insurers or alternative indemnity providers enter the market?

A number of private providers are interested in joining the scheme, but cannot apply to us (the State Insurance Regulatory Authority/SIRA) for a licence until the first quarter of 2018.

How will I know if a private provider is licensed?

The names of any private providers licensed to offer HBC insurance in NSW will be listed on our website at www.sira.nsw.gov.au

Until then, icare remains the only provider licensed to offer HBC insurance.

How can I learn about HBC changes that might affect me?

We’ll publish news about HBC reforms on our website and in industry publications such as Fair Trading’s Foundations newsletter.

To stay up to date with HBC reform news, you can register for alerts by sending an email to hbcreform@sira.nsw.gov.au

What is the role of the State Insurance Regulatory Authority in the HBC scheme?

We’re the regulator of the HBC scheme, so we will:

  • implement the Government’s reforms to the scheme
  • develop regulations and guidelines
  • set minimum standards for eligibility for HBC insurance
  • decide whether to approve applications from private providers wanting to enter the HBC scheme, and
  • decide whether to approve premiums that licensed providers intend to change builders.

What is happening with the reforms right now?

We are designing the details for how the reformed scheme will operate by seeking industry and public feedback on:

  • how we should regulate builder eligibility standards and premiums
  • eligibility, premium and prudential guidelines, and
  • home building compensation regulations.

To register to be notified when the draft guidelines are released for feedback please email hbcreform@sira.nsw.gov.au

What has happened so far?

In June 2017, the NSW Parliament passed laws to reform the home building compensation scheme in NSW.

The laws will take effect early next year to create a financially sustainable scheme that’s open to private competition and product choice, with high levels of consumer protection.

What won’t change?

If you are a builder or tradesperson, you will still:

  • need to get home building compensation cover for residential building work in NSW costing more than $20,000, such as new home constructions (including multi-unit buildings of three storeys or less) or home renovations
  • be able to use a broker to access these products, and
  • need to give a certificate of insurance to the homeowner before starting work or accepting any money, including a deposit.

Failing to have cover will continue to be an offence under NSW law.

icare hbcf will continue to offer insurance.

Further information

For more information:

  • call 13 32 20 (NSW Fair Trading manages phone enquiries on our behalf) or
  • write to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, McKell Building, Level 6, 2-24 Rawson Place, Sydney NSW 2000
  • email: hbcreform@sira.nsw.gov.au