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Insurance Advocate Welcomes EQC Report With Caution

Media Release 6 June 2018

Insurance Advocate Welcomes EQC Report But Sounds Word of Caution

Christchurch insurance advocate and claims preparer Dean Lester says the Stevenson report out today is welcome however says there’s some low hanging fruit that the government has still to identify in improving things at EQC.

“This report adds to the 2013 Faultlines report undertaken by the Privacy Commissioner and the Ombudsman, and another in February 2015 (Monitoring Human Rights in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery) so this is essentially their third crack it,” says Lester. “It also adds to the recent positive initiatives by Minister Woods to move things forward but what is being seen at the coal face right now is that claims continue to be stuck and I believe that can be reasonably easily addressed.”

Dean Lester, who has dealt with several hundred claims over the last 7 years and has more than 30 years experience in the insurance sector, says a claim he was working on last Friday is a perfect example of the blockages he sees at EQC almost on a daily basis.

“This claim is clearly overcap and EQC has had all the information since August 2017 but it remains stuck. The EQC claims manager is saying it can’t be progressed because it is stuck with some faceless team and despite my best efforts I can’t meet with the EQC staff who are making decisions,” he says.

Lester believes claims are being prevented from settling because of the silo’s and people in other divisions such as technical and apportionment.

“How can we progress claims if we can’t even meet with the people who are holding up the claims? Last week I met with senior legal counsel in an insurance company and significant progress was made on a number of claims with them. This is a simple solution, combined with expanding the number of people who have authority to settle claims,” he says.

Dean Lester says the report points to new systems which have been in place since April however a lot of the recommendations in the Stevenson report are not new and still the EQC hasn’t been able to sort themselves out.

“I am also concerned that a figure of 2360 claims is quoted as remaining; that’s not correct. It’s heading towards 15,000 when you consider on solds, outstanding claims and re-repairs and there are those that have not yet come to their attention,” he says. “The MBIE CEDAR report identified about 1 in 3 foundation repairs that are non-compliant and that shouldn’t be ignored.”

“There are more claims for bad repairs and on solds every day and so claims need to be resolved to reduce the EQC claims pile”, he says. “This reduction will only work if signoff authority is given to claim managers or line managers and if people can easily meet with those in EQC who may not be progressing a claim for whatever reason.”

Lester does note the recommendation that will allow EQC to settle above cap and recoup the additional cost from the insurer and questions it. “Kaikoura has generally worked well because private insurers have a greater knowledge collectively on insurance than EQC, their staff are more experienced in insurance. EQC can’t instantly obtain that knowledge, but they can get access to insurance knowledge working with insurance experts who are working well with EQC claimants and share EQC’s new vision “fairly, fully and finally”,” he says.


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