IAG and EQC tell quake victims what to do

If you find your property has been damaged by the large earthquake and subsequent aftershocks on Monday here's some advice for what to do:

New Zealand's biggest insurer - IAG with about 45 per cent of the home insurance market - and state agency EQC has told victims of this week's quakes what to do.

First, phone the state earthquake agency, then call your private insurer.

"Phone EQC first on 0800 326243 (0800 DAMAGE). EQC may check the caller has relevant private insurance and that the policy is current. Get your EQC claim number," IAG said.

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"Phone your private insurer and provide your EQC claim number. If you are an AMI customer, you can call 0800 100 200, for State call: 0800 802 424. For NZI/Lumley: please contact your broker.

"For domestic properties, EQC covers the first $100,000 for house and $20,000 for contents damage. You can lodge a claim with EQC either online or by calling the number above. You will need to make a separate claim for your house and contents," the statement said.

IAG's brands include State, AMI and NZI but it also sells under the Lumley brand and under-writes insurance for ASB, BNZ, The Co-operative Bank and Westpac.

IAG's consumer claims teams assisting customers of AMI and State insurance received several thousand calls through the day yesterday.

There was a big spike in the morning from 9am-11am as people were able to first assess damage in the light of day. Call volumes dropped back a bit through the day although there was a lift late in the afternoon, possibly as some people from outside the hardest hit areas found time to consider the damage.

IAG expects a big lift in calls over the next couple of days from the worst hit area as lines of communication get fully functioning and the people there are able to move from dealing with immediate safety issues and concerns.

The geographic spread of claims moved as far north as Hawkes Bay, where some pools were damaged from water movement.

EQC says householder cover is automatic for those with a home or contents fire insurance policy. That premium paid to the private insurer includes the EQC levy.

EQC also has advice for victims of the quake.

"You must contact EQC within three months from the day your property/contents are damaged and provide specific details of the damage and other information, such as the
name of your insurance company and policy details (EQC requires your insurer's details - not your broker's details - to speed up the process). EQC will advise whether you can arrange for repairs to be done. EQC may also organise for a representative to call and
assist with your claim," EQC says.

The Insurance Council of NZ says insurers will be preparing for an influx of fresh claims after Monday night's earthquake, but it is too early to estimate the cost. Chief executive Tim Grafton said insurers had settled 94 per cent of all Canterbury residential property claims and 95 per cent of commercial claims.