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Insurance industry trumpets success but 8000 claims in limbo

Clayton
COSGROVE
EQC Spokesperson
Commerce Spokesperson

6 August 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT
Insurance industry trumpets success but has 8000 claims in limbo

The Insurance Council of New Zealand has trumpeted the industry’s success in Canterbury through a press release today despite having over 8000 claims still to begin real work, Labour’s EQC and Commerce spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says.

“The insurance industry is completely out of touch with the needs of Cantabrians. By the ICNZ’s own numbers there are 8205 claims still sitting in limbo.

“These aren’t just numbers they are people who are unable to move on with their lives nearly four years on from the earthquakes. It is galling that the insurers are trumpeting a success.

“This is not good enough. Cantabrians do not believe such hype and propaganda from the insurance industry. It sticks in the craw.

“The industry’s release is even more infuriating coming after an article that showed thousands of Canterbury home-owners are still locked in insurance hell with up to 3000 EQC claims having to wait until next year.

“Cantabrians deserve better than this.

“A recent written question highlighted what Canterbury residents already knew - the situation is no better for EQC. It showed there are still 29,276 claims not yet resolved, half of which are just cash settlements so clearly there is dispute over the offers.

“The industry also takes a swipe at ‘advocates hyping up customer expectations’. Who are these advocates? Customers have not been hyped up. They expect to get what they pay for and for the industry to live up to its obligations. For instance, total replacement means just that. Settling within a reasonable time, not four years. Working with their customers, not fighting them.

“Labour recognises the pain Cantabrians are going through with insurers and EQC which is why we have a policy to set up a special Earthquake Court to cut through the huge backlog of insurance cases and ensure claimants have the ability to reach a binding arbitration and start to move on with their lives,” says Clayton Cosgrove.

--

5198 (2014). Hon Clayton Cosgrove to the Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission (30 May 2014): How many, if any, EQC home repair claims are in the process of reaching a settlement agreement?

Hon Gerry Brownlee (Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission) replied: I am advised EQC does not enter into ‘settlement agreements’ and only distinguishes between ‘resolved’ and ‘unresolved’. EQC considers a claim resolved when its statutory obligations to remedy the damage caused by the natural disaster event have been discharged to the claimant through either payment or repair. A breakdown of resolved and unresolved Canterbury claims as at 31 May 2014 is detailed in the attached table.


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