24 EQC claims not paid out

By Laurel Stowell

Add a comment
OVERVIEW: Top Earthquake Commission staffers Paul Walsh (left) and Ian Simpson were in Whanganui yesterday. PHOTO/ BEVAN CONLEY
OVERVIEW: Top Earthquake Commission staffers Paul Walsh (left) and Ian Simpson were in Whanganui yesterday. PHOTO/ BEVAN CONLEY

EQC has made cash payments to all but 24 of the 450 people who made claims resulting from June's flooding.
"That demonstrates a very good settlement rate," says Earthquake Commission chief executive Ian Simpson.
The 450 claims were spread across Whanganui and South Taranaki, with 190 for flood inundation - water and silt across properties - and 260 for land slip damage. Almost all the flooding claims came from urban Whanganui whereas slip ones were from across the region.
The unsettled claims were mostly for slip damage, which were more complex and technical to deal with than damage to buildings, EQC national contracting workforce manager Paul Walsh said.
In 14 of them claim managers were waiting for documents from customers - engineering reports and reviews, land valuations and proofs of ownership and of insurance cover.
Some of those with unsettled claims are victims of EQC policy, set by an act of Parliament. It only pays for repairs to land either underneath or within eight metres of a house, outbuilding or accessway. And it will pay only for either the value of the land affected or the value of the repairs - whichever is less. In most Whanganui cases, the value of the land is less.
"We do understand that in some circumstances that does leave the owner with some aspects they have to cover," Mr Simpson said.
The act that underpins the EQC is being reviewed this year, and changes to land cover will be discussed by a parliamentary select committee. Bryan Staples, of Earthquake Services Ltd, is helping Whanganui customers with unsettled claims get more from EQC. He says EQC and insurers always pay out the smallest amount possible.
But Mr Simpson said that was complete nonsense.
"We spent millions of dollars in Christchurch persuading people to lodge a claim to us.

Often our assessors were pointing out damage people hadn't noticed. We go out of our way to do everything we possibly can."
The Whanganui flood and slip claims are small compared with those from the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010-11. EQC had 470,000 claims resulting from them, and has paid out $11 billion and undertaken repairs to 69,000 houses. The next natural disasters after them were the Seddon earthquakes - 12,000 claims - and the Eketahuna earthquake - 5000 claims.
EQC had just 22 staff before the Christchurch earthquakes. Numbers then peaked at 1800 and are now back down at 850.
Anyone who has fire insurance on a private house also has EQC cover. Mr Simpson said the Christchurch response proved it was a good system because it shared the burden of natural disaster across New Zealand. The system is likely to be tested further, with an increase in disasters like flooding due to climate change, he said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 29 Mar 2017 11:42:24 Processing Time: 244ms