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EQC’s important year of reflection

13 November 2019

The Earthquake Commission’s Annual Report 2018-19 has been tabled in Parliament today. The Annual Report summarises progress being made on EQC’s mission “to reduce the impact on people and property when natural disasters occur.”

The Report says settling outstanding claims from the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence remains EQC’s top priority. Over the year, 84 per cent of remaining 2010-2011 claims were resolved against a target of 98 per cent (leaving 556 claims).

Total ongoing Canterbury claims fell to 2588 from 4800 (30 June to 30 June), a period when around 6600 claims were reopened and around 8200 reopened claims were resolved. Improvements were made to the timeliness and quality of claim resolution, and to the quality of customer communication.

The Annual Report also includes a formal apology to EQC’s customers and the wider Canterbury community. This is not the first time EQC has apologised for its shortcomings in managing the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquake sequence. But EQC Board Chair said the release of this report was a further opportunity for the organisation to demonstrate that it was determined to do better for both the Canterbury community and all of New Zealand in future. EQC Board Chair Sir Michael Cullen said changes were being made in the organisation to be better prepared for future events.

Milestones during the year included:

• The appointment of Board Chair Sir Michael Cullen, and two new Commissioners

• The implementation of all but one of the recommendations of the April 2018 report of the Independent Ministerial Advisor (the other implemented in 2019/20)

• Implementing four changes to the Earthquake Commission Act 1993, including an increase in the cap for residential building cover to $150,000 + GST; and an extension in the potential timeframe for lodging claims from 3 months to two years

• Developing a Resilience Strategy for Natural Hazard Risk Reduction, providing direction to EQC’s research programme, loss modelling, public education and work with other hazard management agencies.

• Negotiating $6.2 billion in reinsurance to help protect New Zealand against the impact of a significant event in future – up from $5.5 billion the year before

• Providing constructive support to the Public Inquiry, formed in November 2018 to report on how EQC can learn from the lessons of Canterbury and improve its readiness for future events.

• Delivering a wellbeing programme for staff

Over the year, two natural disaster events occurred that resulted in more than 800 claims, with over 99% closed out, with an average settlement period of 26 days.

The EQC annual report will be available on our website www.eqc.govt.nz.


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