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10 May 2013

10 May - EQC land settlements getting underway

10 May 2013 Update

EQC land settlements getting underway
The Earthquake Commission today confirmed that payments of flat land claims in Canterbury are getting underway now that more than 30,000 of the 70,000 assessments having been completed.  EQC’s Head of Land Settlement, Zac Berry, says all flat land claims will be assessed by the end of the year, going east to west across Christchurch city. EQC is cash settling land claims and settlements will follow the same east-west track.  “We are recommending that people who do receive a payment discuss it with their bank or insurer,” Mr Berry says.

He said land damage is likely to be minimal in the majority of cases with early experience showing that 40 percent of properties have damage of less than the $500 excess.  However, there is a significant number of complex claims that will take longer to settle. These include approximately 14,000 shared land claims (for example, multiple dwellings on a single title) that pose significant challenges due to the nature of the property ownership, insurance arrangements and the land damage itself. For example, cross lease titles that were popular in the 1970s.  “We will be sending letters to customers with claims considered to be complex to explain what we have found during assessments or geotechnical investigations and what impact it may have on the settlement of their claims,” Mr Berry said.

Port Hills land claims
EQC has received 7,000 land claims from Port Hills property owners. All these claims have been assessed and it is expected they will be settled by the end of 2013.  Many of these claims are not straight forward either, Mr Berry said. “One emerging issue in the Port Hills is that it’s not always clear who owns damaged retaining walls. In some cases, shared ownership also complicates the situation,” he said.
Increased risk types of damage

As part of the damage assessment process for flat land, EQC has identified two new types of land damage. These are land with an increased risk of flooding due to subsidence caused by the earthquakes and increased risk of liquefaction in a new earthquake event.

In contrast to other land damage covered by EQC, these two categories are not visible. Subsidence is determined by LIDAR surveys, which essentially involve comparing the ground level now with that before the quakes by bouncing a laser beam off the earth’s surface back to an aircraft flying overhead. 

In order to determine the increased vulnerability to liquefaction, EQC has just finished a programme of geotechnical drilling to test soil strength in TC3 and parts of TC2.  Not all properties have been drilled, and it is not required if properties are within 50 metres of drilling undertaken previously for foundation design testing.  Although geotechnical drilling was completed at the end of April, the timeframe for settlements is still uncertain, Mr Berry says.  “Analysing the drill samples and data and arriving at a settlement figure for these claims is complex and will take some time.

We will also be writing to these customers to advise them that their settlement will take longer because of the complicating factors,” he says. Although increased vulnerability drilling is compete, rigs will continue to work in parts of Christchurch for Fletcher EQR and private insurers on an as needed basis.

Claim settlement time frames

  • Settlements on the Port Hills have been underway since October 2012 but, due to the complex nature of many claims, all settlements on the Port Hills will not be completed until the end of 2013.
  • The first flat land settlements started in early May 2013.
  •  Settlement of simple claims on flat land will roughly follow the direction of assessments moving from east to west across Christchurch.
  • Settlement of complex claims, such as those involving increased risk of liquefaction or flooding, shared ownership or some retaining walls, will be delayed.
  • Drilling to establish increased risk for liquefaction has been completed. Settlement timeframes are still to be determined.
  • It’s expected that all land claim settlements will be made by the end of 2014.

What happens when your claim is settled
Once your claim is settled, you will receive a pack outlining the damage which is covered and how the settlement amount was calculated. The settlement pack will also include a land assessor’s sketch showing the location of damage, guides to land settlement and common land repair methods, a calculation sheet and an insert from the local authority advising how to find out more about consent requirements.
More information can be found at:

Richard Braddell EQC Communications
04 901 6612  I Ext 6453 I Mob 0277 053 103

9 Apr 2013 Update

Multi-Unit Buildings Factsheet

A special Multi-Unit Building Team at EQC is working on the complex assessment and settlement of homes that form part of a multi-unit – two or more homes that share at least one common element, such as a wall, garage, roof or foundation.

Typically, the repair strategy for one of the homes in a multi-unit building will impact the repair of the one next door: even though one unit may have suffered only cosmetic damage, the damage next door may be structural. Because most of these multi-unit homes have different owners, different insurers and different repair strategies, there is considerable complexity in resolving their claims. To add to the complexity, many multi-unit homes are on TC3 land and often involve the elderly and most vulnerable people in our community.

EQC has recently escalated its focus on these complicated multi-unit homes to speed up claim processing, resolve these issues and reach resolution.

QUESTION: What is a multi-unit building?
ANSWER: A multi-unit building comprises two or more dwellings sharing at least one common structural element, such as a wall, garage, roof or foundations. EQC now assesses multi-unit buildings as a whole, and as individual properties, because the repair strategy for each property is likely to impact on the others. Some common examples of multi-unit buildings are listed below:

  • Flats on cross-lease titles, such as flats attached by a party wall, terraced housing and apartments. Mutual agreement on repair strategies may need to be reached between all flat owners in the building (and other parties, such as banks holding mortgages over individual flats) if proposed repairs will affect the exterior or foundations of the building. For further information about cross leases please refer to: www.qv.co.nz/propertyinformation/KnowledgeCentre/UnderstandingCrossleaseTitles.htm
  • Unit-title developments, which are owned and managed in accordance with the Unit Titles Act. These buildings may be the same types as in a cross-lease development, such as apartment blocks, townhouses and flats. For further information about unit titles please refer to http://www.dbh.govt.nz/unit-titles .
  • Mixed-use buildings. These are buildings which contain both dwellings and commercial premises, for example apartments above shops. They are often unit titles, but come in a range of other tenures.
  • Rest homes and retirement villages.

QUESTION: Why do I have to consult with or agree with my neighbour over the repair strategy?
ANSWER:  EQC assesses multi-unit buildings as a whole, and as individual properties, to determine if the repair strategy for each property is likely to impact on the others. For example, in a set of three units, if the foundation needs repair under the middle unit, it will potentially cause damage to units on the other side, so the timing and extent of the repairs will affect all three homeowners. If your property is a cross lease, mutual agreement on repair strategies for each dwelling may need to be reached between all unit owners. For unit-title dwellings, agreement is usually achieved through the body corporate structure.

QUESTION: My unit has only minor cosmetic damage, why can’t I be repaired now?
QUESTION: My neighbour has been repaired, is with Fletcher EQR, or has been cash settled. Why haven’t I?
ANSWER: EQC now assesses multi-unit buildings as a whole, and as individual properties, because the repair strategy for each property may impact on the other units. One unit may have suffered only cosmetic damage and be under cap, while the one next door may have structural damage and be over cap. Because many multi-unit buildings have different owners, different insurers and different repair strategies, there is considerable complexity in resolving these claims. This can result in delays to even very minor repairs, especially if major repair work is needed in one unit.

QUESTION: Is there a hold-up with multi-unit buildings?
ANSWER: Many multi-unit properties have already been repaired or cash-settled.
Many more need agreement between neighbours before a repair strategy can be put in place, because the repairs to one multi-unit building may affect the repairs of its neighbours. If the damage to one or more units has been assessed as over cap (usually $115,000 including GST), the insurer(s) may also be involved.

To ensure EQC’s customers are not disadvantaged in any way by the repair or rebuild of an adjoining dwelling, all claims for homes that are part of a multi-unit building need to be reviewed as a whole building as well as the individual dwellings (or units) in that building.

Due to the complexities arising from many of these claims, EQC has increased the size of the specialist team that can deal with the many issues arising and review each claim before reaching a settlement decision.

QUESTION: Why are these claims being treated differently from others?

ANSWER: Multi-unit building claims have a number of complexities that don’t apply to stand-alone houses, including the requirement of EQC to assess the whole building as well as the individual units in that building to determine an appropriate repair strategy. Mutual agreement on that repair strategy may need to be reached among all flat owners in the building because the repair strategy for each property may impact on the others and on other parties, including other insurers and banks holding mortgages over individual flats.

 

QUESTION: When will my multi-unit dwelling claim be settled?
ANSWER: The specialist settlement team is working on providing timeframes soon for most multi-unit buildings claims.

QUESTION: Does being part of a multi-unit building affect my land claim?
ANSWER: Yes. The effect on your land claim will depend on the type of tenure and ownership of your property. Cross leases can be more complex than unit titles (which have a body corporate structure), due to the shared ownership of the cross-lease land and any potential uncertainty between exclusive and common-use land. EQC will assess land damage on the whole property (within the area of insured land), and then also assess the land damage from the perspective of each residential dwelling. This additional field work and the complexities of establishing ownership mean that it is likely to take longer to process these land claims.

1 Oct 2012 Update

Technical Category 3 (TC3) EQC geotechnical investigations and assessments

13 Aug 2012 Update

What EQC is doing if you're in TC3

Our commitment
 Homes in TC3 that require foundation repair or rebuilding must get a building consent from the local council before repairs or rebuilding can begin. The requirements for the consent include geotechnical assessment of the land in the vicinity of the damaged house.

EQC is leading a drilling programme to get the necessary information for repairs or rebuilding. We’re negotiating with insurers to create a coordinated programme for all TC3 homes with foundation damage. We’ve been underway since March, and with a dozen rigs on the job, we’ve put more than 1200 holes in the ground.

Timeframes
We intend to be done by March 2014, subject to negotiations on a collaborative programme. You can find out when we expect to visit your area at Canterbury.eqc.govt.nz by clicking on ‘Where we are working’.

What happens next
Once the land near your house has been drilled, engineers analyse the information and design foundations specific to your property. These designs then go to the local council for building consent. Once consent is obtained, work on repairs or rebuilding can begin.

Drilling also provides information on the cost to repair your house, which helps us determine (if we haven’t already) whether you stay with EQC or are managed by your insurer.

If your age, health or personal circumstances make your case urgent

Our commitment
Some customers have personal circumstances that mean they need their home repaired sooner.

Where EQC identifies vulnerable customers we prioritise the settlement of their claims. Currently, these claims have to be managed by hand; however EQC is working with other organisations to establish an automated process that identifies vulnerable customers for prioritised managed repair. This process will take into account factors such as age and health.

Timeframes
Once we have established how many customers fit into the prioritised category, we anticipate being able to repair an extra 100 homes each month for these priority customers. We are also prioritising other processes, such as claims processing.

What happens next
While we have a process in place that will give us vulnerable indicators, we accept that some people may have extenuating circumstances that may need to be considered in addition to this. This will be done on a case-by-case basis.

In the meantime, if you, or someone you know, has circumstances that warrant prioritisation, please get in touch by calling 0800 DAMAGE (326 243).

If you're waiting for EQC & your insurer to decide who repairs your home

The problem
We, and your insurer, need to figure out how much damage each earthquake has done to your home (the process of apportionment).

Our solution
EQC, and your insurer are focussing on the apportionment of claims with greater than $80,000 damage (only these claims are unable to be settled prior to apportionment).

Timeframes
We’re nearly a third of the way through these priority claims, and resolving hundreds each week. It’s likely the claims will all be through apportionment within nine months.

What happens next
Once apportioned, a building claim is either cash-settled by EQC (over cap) or sent to a Fletcher EQR hub for repairs (under cap).

If you have land damage

Our commitment
We have received about 100,000 land claims. While building claims remain the priority, we’ve begun working through the land claims in the Port Hills where settlement is delaying repairs or rebuilding of the house.

We’re also about to begin the roll-out of land damage information packs, providing homeowners with land claims the information that was gathered by assessors after damage occurred, and giving information about how we will settle land claims.

Timeframes
In most cases, we will cash settle your land claim, but right now we are prioritising repairs to homes. In almost every case, repair of your home does not need to wait for assessment or settlement of your land claim.

Land damage information packs will be out to all affected homeowners by the end of November.

What happens next
Most customers with a valid land claim will get a cash settlement, but in some circumstances EQC will look to arrange repairs.

If you're waiting for an answer from EQC

Our commitment
We’re improving the way we communicate with you between lodging your claim and getting a settlement outcome.

We’re starting by writing to all TC3 customers with structural building damage to update them on the situation facing ‘green/blue’ residents.

We have brought our call centres and processing from half a dozen sites in two countries, down to three sites, all in New Zealand, to improve the consistency and quality of information available to you. For customers whose situation has led to a dispute, we have introduced a free, independent mediation service, run by the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand.

Go to eqcmediation.org.nz for more information.

Flood damage - what EQC covers

In the event of a flood, EQC covers loss of land and inundation of debris for the land within 8 metres of your house and outbuildings (and up to 60m from your house for the main access way).

EQC does not cover flood damage to your house or contents.

You must have had current home and/or contents insurance at the time of the flood to make a claim with EQC.

10 Jul 2012 Update

Opting out’ has been in the media lately. What is opting out and why is it offered? EQC explains.

All properties with total damage over $15,000, but with no one claim over $100,000 + GST are referred to EQC’s Canterbury Home Repair Programme, project managed by Fletcher EQR. Customers who choose to, can ‘opt out’ and manage repairs themselves, using their EQC entitlement, but organising all the logistics involved in the repair process. Before work begins, EQC and the customer agree the scope and cost of repair work.
Recently, EQC has made a number of changes to the opting out process. These changes have been made in order to streamline the process for customers; making it easier for them to take control of their own repairs should they choose to do so.
When a customer opts out, they are taking over the role of project manager from Fletcher EQR. With this role comes the responsibility to oversee the repairs of their house, and this includes payment of their contractor of choice.
As repair work is completed, the customer (as project manager) presents invoices to EQC and these are paid. If, for whatever reason, the invoice falls due before EQC has paid the funds, then it becomes the project manager’s responsibility to pay the invoice and then to be reimbursed. EQC’s standard payment terms are the 20th of the month following invoice (although in practice we usually pay within two to three weeks of presentation of the invoice). Provided the invoice is correctly completed and received on time, the customer/project manager should have no difficulty paying the contractor on time.
Project management is not the most appropriate solution for everyone, which is why the Fletcher EQR project management option exists: to give customers the peace of mind by taking care of all the building consent requirements, financial responsibility and quality control.

2 May 2012 Update

http://canterbury.eqc.govt.nz/news/release

Changes to the way EQC manages excesses

17 Apr 2012 Update

EQC/Insurance problems?  Attend a community meeting to find out how you can get help. Community meetings - EQC/Insurance Problems The following meetings have been set up for people who are currently unable to live in their homes due to earthquake damage and who are experiencing real issues with either EQC or their insurer. The meetings are being held for the purpose of sharing information about these issues with other residents in an effort to identify common problems and seek solutions. We may or may not have EQC/Insurance staff present depending on their agreement to attend. Please note the Association can only bring residents together – any action required will need to be generated by the residents affected. 

Wednesday 18th April 7.30pm April IAG/State/NZI/ASB/BNZ – Redcliffs Bowling Club. CanCERN and your local CERA rep Jocelyn Papprill will be in attendance.

Thursday 19th April 7.30pm April VERO – Redcliffs Bowling Club CanCERN will be in attendance.

Saturday 21st April 2.00pm -  EQC – Mt Pleasant Yacht Club. CanCERN will be in attendance.

Sunday 22nd April 2.00pm – AMI – Mt Pleasant Yacht Club CERA rep Jocelyn Papprill will be in attendace CanCERN to confirm.

15 Mar 2012 Update

There have been rumours going around that the EQC have stopped payment of claims in the White Zone. According to EQC National Operations Manager, Reid Stiven, speaking at a community meeting in Sumner last week this is not the case. According to Mr Stiven the High Court ruling on multiple claims has slowed many claims down due to a massive increase in the complexity of calculating payouts - but claims are still being processed. 

If you have actually had a multi event claim paid out we would be interested to hear from you .

From the EQC website, updated 6 March 2012

Why is the settlement of building and land claims from Canterbury such a big task?

The main reason is that there are so many claims – over 400,000 – and new events keep occurring, and these divert resources from settlement into handling new claims.

Added to this, many properties have suffered damage as a result of more than one earthquake event, and this makes for a more complex process and something that EQC has not had to manage before.

So what is so complex about multi-event claims?

In the past, an earthquake or land slip happened, a claim would be lodged, and EQC would assess the damage caused by that event to the property and settle the claim before any other damaging event took place.

In Christchurch, in order to determine how much of the cost of a settlement lies with EQC and private insurers (and ultimately reinsurers), EQC must allocate or attribute damage to specific events (EQC refers to this as “apportionment”).  This apportionment is required because the High Court has clarified that cover begins afresh after each earthquake event (the “declaratory judgment”).  The declaratory judgment has made some previously straightforward claims more complicated.

What is apportionment?

Apportionment is the process by which EQC allocates damage across multiple claims. For instance, if a house was damaged in the September, February and June quakes, and a claim was made each time, EQC needs to determine what damage was caused to both the house and land by each individual quake.

Why does EQC need to apportion the damage where it occurred over multiple events?

EQC is required under the Earthquake Commission Act to determine the amount of each claim made by an insured.  Where there are claims over multiple events, EQC needs to work out what costs lie with us and with private insurers. EQC also needs to work out what cost lies with reinsurers. The only way to effectively do this is to work out what damage occurred when.

How does apportionment affect my claims?

The overall cover which you have is unaffected so long as you have lodged a claim for each event that damaged your property.  However, the proportion of cover coming from EQC, rather than your insurer, may be higher or lower depending on how damage is apportioned between claims.

Because you need to pay an excess for every claim lodged, it is possible that the proportion of your pay out that goes onto excesses could increase or decrease after apportionment.

The need to attribute the damage to each event can also slow the processing of some claims.

Properties with damage in excess of $100,000 (+ GST) and multiple claims are most affected because the allocation of damage might bring them under EQC managed repair, rather than being cash settled.  Settlement is likely to be quicker in cases where the total damage is less than $100,000, because the allocation of damage does not change whether the claim will be cash settled or repaired.

How does EQC know which events caused what damage, if an assessment was not done after each event?

If an assessment was done after each event, apportionment is based on those assessments. EQC can use a variety of methods to establish how damage should be apportioned when an assessment was not done after each event. These include:

  • obtaining details of the damage from each event from the homeowner or insurer
  • viewing pictures taken of the damage to a property after each event
  • comparing the apportionment of damage to other similar properties in the area.

Without documentation between events, such as photos or an assessment record, there will never be a definitive way of saying for certain what damage is apportioned where, but we try to be as objective and accurate as possible.

What do I do if I don’t agree with how EQC has apportioned damage?

Where EQC has not done a physical assessment of damage after each damaging earthquake, apportionment will, in most cases, not involve allocating specific damage to an event (e.g. broken tiles in the kitchen to the 22 February event). Instead it involves allocating a proportion of the total damage value to each event.

However, if you think you have been adversely affected by EQC’s apportionment of damage and you have evidence of damage on certain dates (such as photographs) you can provide these to EQC and ask for your apportionment to be reconsidered. 

What does the court ruling have to do with this?

Because the multiple large-scale earthquakes in Christchurch are unique in world insurance history, it was unclear whether EQC cover should be reinstated after each event, or whether it expires once EQC’s maximum limit (usually $100,000 + GST) is reached across all of a homeowner’s claims.

In mid-2011, EQC and the Insurance Council asked the High Court to make a declaratory judgment on this issue. The court declared that EQC cover is renewed after each event, so long as the property remains insured. This means EQC needs to determine which of the damage to a property was caused by each event for which there is a claim – the process of apportionment.

How will the High Court’s declaratory judgment affect my claim?

The overall cover which you have is unaffected so long as you have lodged a claim for each event that damaged your property.  However, the proportion of cover coming from EQC, rather than your insurer, may be higher or lower depending on how damage is apportioned between claims. It may also mean that EQC manages your repairs, in which case your claim could be referred in the first instance to the Canterbury Home Repair Programme, where previously it would have been passed to your insurer, with EQC’s share being cash settled.

However, where EQC has already cash settled one claim for a house, or passed it onto the insurer, we will be flexible in deciding if the remaining claims should be referred to the Canterbury Home Repair Programme or cash settled.

How long are claims taking to process under this new process?

Most customers’ building and land claims will carry on as usual through to cash settlement or managed repair, and won’t be delayed by the new process. For properties with damage in excess of $100,000 (+ GST) and multiple claims, a routine processing time isn’t known. EQC is very aware that this new process has slowed some claim settlements and is looking at ways to address this, such as developing tools to speed up the process.

Update 18 Oct 2011 

Those who are planning to get their EQC contents claims in by Monday, October 24, should bear in mind that that day is Labour Day, a holiday, and that NZ Post and Courier Post do not deliver on that day and NZ does not postmark on that day. If you contact EQC they may put a note on your file allowing for delivery to arrive on the Tuesday Oct 25.

Update 14 Oct 2011 

EQC’s Mobile Customer Contact Unit EQC Claim Advisors are available to meet customers who need help with their claims, or simply have questions or issues they’d like resolved.

Update 6 Oct 2011 

EQC to have contents claims “Sorted by Summer”

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) will settle all outstanding contents claims from the Canterbury earthquakes by Christmas, providing it receives all relevant information from Canatabrians by October 24.

The campaign “Sorted By Summer” is designed to settle contents claims as quickly and efficiently as possible.

EQC has received 163,824 contents claims from all events dating back to the first earthquake on 4 September 2010 and EQC has settled 53,056. There are approximately 80,000 claims that are unable to be processed because of a lack of documentation.

EQC Claims Manager Gail Kettle says EQC is reliant on claimants satisfactorily completing their schedules.

“EQC needs to receive correctly completed schedule of contents forms, along with the required receipts, valuations and quotations,” Ms Kettle said.

“The more information claimants can provide, the quicker we will be able to assess and pay the outstanding contents claims.”

Ms Kettle says that extra staff have been employed to meet the expected spike in workload as claimants complete their schedules.

“We already have around 230 staff dedicated to settling contents claims and we aim to add another 90 staff to help meet our deadline.”

“As part of this campaign EQC staff will be making calls to claimants who have not yet sent in their contents schedule, to explain what’s needed and to encourage them to get it into EQC by 24 October.” Ms Kettle said.

For further information, or for help completing contents claim, claimants are urged to contact 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 423) or visit www.canterbury.eqc.govt.nz where they can also download a contents schedule.

 For more information contact:

•       Michael Henstock 027 224 2074
 •       EQC website: www.eqc.govt.nz
 •       Facebook: www.facebook.com/earthquakecommission
 •       Twitter: www.twitter.com/eqcnz

Update 29 June 2011 

EQC response in the Port Hills

EQC is continuing to repair dwellings in the Port Hills where work has already begun. It has a team of 20 dealing with landslip issues.

Another team is doing full assessment on severely damaged properties. The EQC is not starting new repair work on houses and is waiting for information from Tonkin and Taylor about land stability, which is expected in the next 10 days. Once the Tonkin and Taylor work is completed than EQC can determine what new repair work can occur.

The land issues in the Port Hills are different from other parts of Christchurch. The major issue is the danger of rock fall on to houses. The 5.7 magnitude and 6.3 magnitude earthquakes on 13 June 2011 caused further land damage in the Port Hills area (including Lyttelton). This requires rapid mapping so EQC can triage appropriate areas and deal with urgent claims appropriately. Rapid mapping involves geotechnical engineers physically observing land damage and recording it on maps of the area. It gives an overall picture of area-wide land damage and identifies properties that require urgent attention. It will be followed by individual property assessments for properties with EQC claims.

Christchurch City Council teams are also continuing to work in these areas assessing lifelines and life safety issues from rock falls and loose rocks.

The information gathered by these teams will also inform the assessments made by Tonkin & Taylor for EQC, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and the Government.

Tonkin and Taylor has advised EQC its land assessments in the Port Hills are about 70 per cent complete

Update 17 June 2011

These events deeply affect everyone. We are continuing to work hard to make sure the latest major aftershocks don't set back the process of settling claims and making repairs in Christchurch. 

This email newsletter is to EQC claimants in the Canterbury area who have a claim in progress from the September and February earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks, and for whom we have an email address. This issue covers:

Monday 13 June aftershock - new event - new claim

  • The 6.3 magnitude aftershock on Monday 13 June, and the others that hit Christchurch that day, have been classified as a new event for insurance purposes. If your property or contents have undergone new or further damage, you will need to lodge a new EQC claim.
  • The deadline for lodging your claim is Tuesday 13 September 2011. Call 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243) or visit www.eqc.govt.nz to lodge your claim.

Emergency repairs

  • The process for getting emergency repairs from the 13 June aftershocks is just the same as it has been since 4 September 2010.
  • You can authorise emergency repairs up to $2000. You can either forward the invoice to EQC, or ask your tradesperson to send their invoice to us, or you can pay the bill yourself and send the invoice and receipt to EQC.
  • For bigger jobs, make a claim with EQC and we'll arrange repairs - most likely through our project managers, Fletcher EQR. You can also talk directly to your insurer to ask them to arrange repairs.
  • Homeowners cannot authorise repairs over $2000. If you are unsure how much the repairs are going to cost, you should call 0800 DAMAGE and we will refer the case to Fletcher EQR.
  • Our first priority, once again following the 13 June aftershocks, is emergency repairs to make properties secure, sanitary and weather-proof.
  • Visit http://canterbury.eqc.govt.nz for further information on emergency works and claims.

Update your contact details

  • The aftershocks on 13 June have not interrupted our full assessment programme. Our staff are carrying on with full assessments. As at Friday 17 June, we have completed 21,404 full assessments since 22 February. When we visit your property for a full assessment, we will give you at least 24 hours' notice. If the time doesn't suit, appointments can be re-arranged.
  • If we have already visited your property and completed a full assessment since 22 February 2011, we will not be revisiting your property.
    • If your full assessment has been completed since 22 February 2011 and we found damage to your property exceeded the EQC cap of $100,000 + GST, we will pass your claim to your insurer and discuss any additional damage caused by the 13 June aftershocks with them.
    • If we have found that damage to your property was under the EQC cap, we will pass your claim to our project managers Fletcher EQR to undertake repairs. Fletcher EQR will assess any additional damage caused by the 13 June aftershocks at the time they come to do the repairs to your property.
    • However, if you need emergency repairs, contact EQC on 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243).

Winter heating

  • If your power is back on but your main heating source was damaged by Monday's aftershocks, call us on: 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243) or email: heating@eqr.co.nz
  • Our first priority is homes with people who are sick, elderly or with young children where the main heating source has been lost.
  • We've installed or repaired heat pumps or solid fuel burners in more than 6,000 homes that lost their main heat source since 22 February 2011, and we'll keep doing that for properties damaged by the 13 June aftershocks.

Contents claims 

  • You will need to lodge another claim if your contents got damaged by the aftershock on Monday 13 June. Please fill in a Schedule of Contents form with the details of your damaged goods (see information below) as soon as possible, as this will help with the processing of your contents claim.
  • If you have lodged a contents claim but have not provided details of your damaged goods, you can do this by filling in a Schedule of Contents form. To get this form, phone EQC on 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243) or download it from our website: http://www.eqc.govt.nz/downloads/pdfs/eqc-schedule-contents.pdf  
  • Use this form to help you make a list of your damaged items including their make, model and serial number. For more information about making a contents claim, refer to the EQC website: http://canterbury.eqc.govt.nz/faq/claims-content
  • When you send your contents information to EQC, please include your claim number on all documentation.

Contractor's invoices

  • If you are a tradesperson, please check that your invoices to EQC have the correct tax and invoice information and the claim number and address of the property you have repaired. The full information on what EQC requires on all invoices, to ensure they are paid promptly, is in the contractor section of our website: http://canterbury.eqc.govt.nz/contractors
  • When everything is in order with a contractor's invoice, EQC is generally making payment by the 20th of the following month.

CERA  

EQC is one of several organisations working with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) on rebuilding greater Christchurch and its surrounds, and supporting the welfare of its people. For more information about CERA visit: www.cera.govt.nz

Contact Us 

Contact us on O800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243) for further information and if:

  • you need to make a claim for earthquake damage from the Monday 13 June aftershocks
  • you have emergency repairs or need to be part of the Winter Heating Programme. (Please have your EQC claim number ready to give to our staff.)
  • you have moved and need to update your email or postal address or phone number. Again, have your EQC claim number ready to give to staff.

You can also get more information and updates from EQC:

Kind regards
EQC

Why is the settlement of building and land claims from Canterbury such a big task?

The main reason is that there are so many claims – over 400,000 – and new events keep occurring, and these divert resources from settlement into handling new claims.

Added to this, many properties have suffered damage as a result of more than one earthquake event, and this makes for a more complex process and something that EQC has not had to manage before.

So what is so complex about multi-event claims?

In the past, an earthquake or land slip happened, a claim would be lodged, and EQC would assess the damage caused by that event to the property and settle the claim before any other damaging event took place.

In Christchurch, in order to determine how much of the cost of a settlement lies with EQC and private insurers (and ultimately reinsurers), EQC must allocate or attribute damage to specific events (EQC refers to this as “apportionment”).  This apportionment is required because the High Court has clarified that cover begins afresh after each earthquake event (the “declaratory judgment”).  The declaratory judgment has made some previously straightforward claims more complicated.

What is apportionment?

Apportionment is the process by which EQC allocates damage across multiple claims. For instance, if a house was damaged in the September, February and June quakes, and a claim was made each time, EQC needs to determine what damage was caused to both the house and land by each individual quake.

Why does EQC need to apportion the damage where it occurred over multiple events?

EQC is required under the Earthquake Commission Act to determine the amount of each claim made by an insured.  Where there are claims over multiple events, EQC needs to work out what costs lie with us and with private insurers. EQC also needs to work out what cost lies with reinsurers. The only way to effectively do this is to work out what damage occurred when.

How does apportionment affect my claims?

The overall cover which you have is unaffected so long as you have lodged a claim for each event that damaged your property.  However, the proportion of cover coming from EQC, rather than your insurer, may be higher or lower depending on how damage is apportioned between claims.

Because you need to pay an excess for every claim lodged, it is possible that the proportion of your pay out that goes onto excesses could increase or decrease after apportionment.

The need to attribute the damage to each event can also slow the processing of some claims.

Properties with damage in excess of $100,000 (+ GST) and multiple claims are most affected because the allocation of damage might bring them under EQC managed repair, rather than being cash settled.  Settlement is likely to be quicker in cases where the total damage is less than $100,000, because the allocation of damage does not change whether the claim will be cash settled or repaired.

How does EQC know which events caused what damage, if an assessment was not done after each event?

If an assessment was done after each event, apportionment is based on those assessments. EQC can use a variety of methods to establish how damage should be apportioned when an assessment was not done after each event. These include:

  • obtaining details of the damage from each event from the homeowner or insurer
  • viewing pictures taken of the damage to a property after each event
  • comparing the apportionment of damage to other similar properties in the area.

Without documentation between events, such as photos or an assessment record, there will never be a definitive way of saying for certain what damage is apportioned where, but we try to be as objective and accurate as possible.

What do I do if I don’t agree with how EQC has apportioned damage?

Where EQC has not done a physical assessment of damage after each damaging earthquake, apportionment will, in most cases, not involve allocating specific damage to an event (e.g. broken tiles in the kitchen to the 22 February event). Instead it involves allocating a proportion of the total damage value to each event.

However, if you think you have been adversely affected by EQC’s apportionment of damage and you have evidence of damage on certain dates (such as photographs) you can provide these to EQC and ask for your apportionment to be reconsidered. 

What does the court ruling have to do with this?

Because the multiple large-scale earthquakes in Christchurch are unique in world insurance history, it was unclear whether EQC cover should be reinstated after each event, or whether it expires once EQC’s maximum limit (usually $100,000 + GST) is reached across all of a homeowner’s claims.

In mid-2011, EQC and the Insurance Council asked the High Court to make a declaratory judgment on this issue. The court declared that EQC cover is renewed after each event, so long as the property remains insured. This means EQC needs to determine which of the damage to a property was caused by each event for which there is a claim – the process of apportionment.

How will the High Court’s declaratory judgment affect my claim?

The overall cover which you have is unaffected so long as you have lodged a claim for each event that damaged your property.  However, the proportion of cover coming from EQC, rather than your insurer, may be higher or lower depending on how damage is apportioned between claims. It may also mean that EQC manages your repairs, in which case your claim could be referred in the first instance to the Canterbury Home Repair Programme, where previously it would have been passed to your insurer, with EQC’s share being cash settled.

However, where EQC has already cash settled one claim for a house, or passed it onto the insurer, we will be flexible in deciding if the remaining claims should be referred to the Canterbury Home Repair Programme or cash settled.

How long are claims taking to process under this new process?

Most customers’ building and land claims will carry on as usual through to cash settlement or managed repair, and won’t be delayed by the new process. For properties with damage in excess of $100,000 (+ GST) and multiple claims, a routine processing time isn’t known. EQC is very aware that this new process has slowed some claim settlements and is looking at ways to address this, such as developing tools to speed up the process.

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