A simpler process for settling Kaikoura earthquake claims
We’ve simplified the way earthquake claims are managed. Rather than you having to deal with both EQC and State, we will lodge, manage and settle all house and contents claims related to the recent earthquakes. This is regardless of whether your claim is under or over the EQC cap. This will deliver efficiency for everyone by reducing double handling through fewer assessments and handovers between organisations, which will speed up settlements.
We’ve received close to 25,000 claims so we’ve set up five Hubs, in Kaikoura, Blenheim, Hanmer Springs, Wellington and Christchurch to enable us to best respond to the scale of the event. The hubs are complemented by six teams of dedicated earthquake claims managers based in Christchurch.
The claims teams are experienced in earthquake response, and are supported by teams of loss adjusters, engineers and assessors.
Over the next month we will schedule all assessments and let you know when you can expect to see someone. Your local hub will then contact you to arrange the exact time they’ll be out to visit you, closer to the time.
We began assessments late last year, starting with the most affected properties first – council red and yellow stickered properties, homes that are uninhabitable or commercial buildings that are unusable. We will also prioritise customers who are elderly, have young children, or health or financial concerns.
Settling claims is our priority
We’ve received thousands of emails and voice messages over the last few weeks. Sorry if we haven’t had a chance to get back to you.
We’re working through all of our emails and messages. If you would like:
- An update on your claim, or
- To update your claim information or
- To query any of the details you have provided to date, please contact us on:
Email: email@example.com or
Phone: 0800 42 44 11
Frequently asked questions
- Who will complete the assessment of the damage to my home?
If you live in Kaikoura, teams from IAG will visit you and assess the damage to your property.
We have partnered with Crawford & Company, one of the largest loss adjusting organisations in New Zealand, to assess your property if you live in the Marlborough region.
Cunningham Lindsey, a global loss adjusting, claims, management and risk solutions firm, will manage our assessments in Wellington and the lower North Island.
In Christchurch, Hanmer Springs, Waiau and North Canterbury, Symetri, an end-to-end catastrophe, project and claims management company, will complete assessments on our behalf.
If you sit outside of these main areas, a representative from IAG, or our partnering organisation closest to you, will be out to assess your property.
All organisations completing assessments on IAG’s behalf will contact you directly to organise a time to assess your property and will carry appropriate identification with them when they visit.
Most assessments will only need one visit. During this visit an assessor will document all the damage to your property. If your home has significant structural damage, or damage to drains, we may need an engineer or drainage specialist to visit also. We will arrange all of this for you and coordinate additional visits with you.
- Why is the approach to settling claims changing?
EQC and insurers want to provide a streamlined claims experience for people affected by the Kaikoura earthquakes. This will deliver efficiency for everyone by reducing double handling through fewer assessments and handovers between organisations, which will speed up settlements.
- I need to get some urgent work done to make things safe for me and my family. How do I do that?
If you need to organise emergency or temporary repairs, you can do so and we will reimburse you on receipt of your invoice. Examples of ‘make safe’ repairs are hot water cylinders, chimney removal, and temporary plywood walls. Any payment we make for urgent work will be deducted from your final settlement.
- Does this change what’s covered under the EQC Act and my insurance policy?
No. The joint approach does not change the entitlements you have under your policy or the Earthquake Commission Act (the Act). EQC has provided training to insurance companies on the specific requirements of the EQC Act. Insurers are simply acting as EQC’s agent so that you have a more streamlined claims experience, without the need for multiple assessments.
- My contents are insured with State and my home is with another insurer. How will I know if they are part of the arrangement?
Insurance Council of New Zealand members that offer home and contents insurance and have agreed to this new approach are: AA Insurance, FMG, IAG (AMI, AMI, NZI, Lumley and Lantern brands, as well as ASB, BNZ and Westpac policies), MAS, QBE, Tower, Vero (including AMP, ANZ and Warehouse Money policies underwritten by Vero) and Youi.
- How is State approaching the recovery?
We have begun assessments, starting with the most affected properties first – council red and yellow stickered properties, homes that are uninhabitable or commercial buildings that are unusable. If you are concerned about the safety of your home or commercial building, or have other factors you believe we should be aware of – health issues etc - please advise us of your situation immediately.
We have established five Hubs in Kaikoura, Blenheim, Hanmer, Wellington and Christchurch to enable us to best respond to the scale of this event. The Hubs will contact all customers with a claim lodged to organise assessments.
- How can I be sure that State is settling me on the same basis as other insurers?
State will act as EQC’s agent to settle your claim. We are settling claims in accordance with the EQC Act. All insurers will use the same set of guidelines provided by EQC.
- What if I don’t agree with my assessment/settlement?
EQC and insurers are working out a streamlined complaints process to best help you if this situation arises. The outcome will be that you will have access to a free, independent dispute resolution mechanism similar to the current ombudsman schemes.
- What will be assessed and settled and by whom?
Claim type Who will assess and settle Contents Private insurers Building Private insurers Contents and building Private insurers Land only EQC Land and building EQC and Private insurers Land and building and contents EQC and Private insurers
- When will an assessor visit my property?
We have already started assessing the worst affected properties in the most impacted areas and we will be contacting all customers with claims to check the level of damage to their home and contents. Assessment may require a site visit. In some cases, such as for contents, you may simply be asked to provide specific information about damaged goods. It’s useful to photograph the damage and broken items as these will help to support your claim.
If an assessor needs to visit your property, they will have identification and they will arrive at a time agreed with you.
Land assessments by EQC has also begun.
- Will State manage my repairs?
In the majority of cases, we will assess the damage to your home and contents and cash settle you for your loss. We believe cash-settling your claim provides you with the greatest flexibility. It provides you with the freedom to make choices that work best for your circumstances. You can choose your own builder, make improvements and alterations to your property and work to timeframes that suit you.
- What does a cash settlement cover?
The settlement is based on a detailed scope of works and a cash value that allows all of that work to be completed, up to the sum insured.
If your claim is under cap the cash settlement will comply with the provisions of the EQC Act.
- Will I have to pay an excess?
EQC excesses apply and will be deducted from your settlement payments. If your claim is over the EQC cap, an additional excess may apply.
- I have already done some urgent work and sent the invoice to EQC. What should I do about this?
Any information that is relevant to your claim is now part of your claim file, which EQC will pass on to us. If you have been reimbursed for urgent works, then this will likely be deducted from the final settlement.
- I have already lodged a claim and but I’ve noticed new damage since an aftershock. Who should I talk to about this?
Talk to us – we are handling all aspects of your claim including new damage. If this new damage is to your land, we will pass this information to EQC.
- Under the privacy laws can EQC and private insurers share my personal claim information?
Yes. Information that you provide is used to manage, assess and settle claims. As we are acting as EQC agents to settle claims arising from the Kaikoura earthquakes, we are able to share your information so work can be completed.
- Who is going to pay my claim? I have lodged a claim with EQC, and EQC have contacted me and been out to see my property. Who will settle my claim?
EQC will pass all information to us and we will settle your claim. You will not need another assessment, unless additional expert advice (e.g. engineering) is required.
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