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Vocal critic wants EQC sorted

16 Dec 2017

A vocal critic of the EQC is calling on the government to deal with the government disaster insurer immediately to address the problems it is causing and the lives it continues to impact.

“It’s been seven years and almost every day there’s another awful story. When will it stop?” Ali Jones said.

Jones said a recent story in the media, about an elderly woman who may have to sleep in her car because of EQC’s alleged ineptitude, is heartbreaking.

“This is one of so many we keep hearing about,” she said. “Many of those are because of lessons not learned, to be frank.”

According to Jones, people are still waiting for over cap payments – and some were being told in August and September that they would not have their failed repair claims assessed until next year, as EQC is still dealing with older cases.

Everyone with a suspected failed repair is being told to get specialist assessments done before EQC will even consider looking at them – which costs thousands of dollars, she said.

Insurance Council of New Zealand chief executive Tim Grafton told Insurance Business that the unacceptable situation in Canterbury demonstrates the importance of allowing private insurers to manage natural disaster claims for their own customers.

“This method was trialled in Kaikōura and we have settled or partially settled 79% of all residential claims just over a year after the earthquake,” Grafton said.

Jones said private insurers also need to be held accountable, saying legislation setting maximum timeframes for claim settlement must be established.

“The Commission of Inquiry is about EQC and that’s a given. The performance and behaviour of private insurers also need to be reviewed, but I don’t support a combined commission of inquiry – looking at EQC and private insurers,” she said. “It’s a big issue, and EQC needs to be the focus of the COI. They are the priority; let’s not muddy the waters.”

 - Insurance News

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