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EQC staff continue processing claims from home

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Earthquake Commission continues to operate during the COVID-19 lockdown and has already started processing the first claims from last week’s earthquake in Canterbury.

EQC Deputy Chief Executive Renée Walker said that EQC had received a small number of claims from last week’s shallow 4.3 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 5km, centred on the southern outskirts of Christchurch.

"The event, which was definitely the most widely felt in quite some time in Canterbury, triggered almost 9,000 felt reports to Geonet," said Ms Walker.

"To date 24 homeowners have lodged a claim for damage, 17 from Christchurch, five from the Selwyn District and two from the Waimakariri District."

In line with Level 4 Alert requirements, all EQC staff continue to work from home. All claim lodgement channels remain open; and claims continue to be managed and settled.

Under the Level 4 restrictions, all face-to-face interactions with customers remain on hold.

"Like every employer we need to keep our staff and customers safe, and under the Level 4 Alert, we can only carry out onsite assessments or repairs if there is an immediate risk of injury or illness following a natural disaster," said EQC Deputy Chief Executive Renée Walker.

"While we received a small number of claims in response to last week’s earthquake none of these present an immediate risk."

Ms Walker recognises that the pandemic restrictions will cause delays and frustrations for customers waiting for repairs, onsite assessments or scoping.

"We thank our customers for their patience and hope they recognise these are extraordinary times and that everyone’s health and well-being needs to take priority."

Homeowners who have lodged claims after last week’s shake have been able to use the recently introduced automated processes in the Earthquake Commission’s claims system.

The new enhancement came online at the start of 2020 and provides the EQC event response teams with real-time information and reports.

"We are focused on being better prepared for the next big event, based on all the lessons we have learned since the Canterbury earthquakes. By automating parts of the claims process, our settlement teams will be freed up from administrative tasks to focus on the customer and support them through the claims process," says Ms Walker.

Ms Walker said that she was proud how quickly staff had switched to carrying out most of the organisation’s core responsibilities from home.

"We have been working hard to learn from the feedback from customers and our team’s response to the pandemic gives me confidence EQC is much better placed to respond to any future event.

"While we cannot conduct site visits we have continued to settle claims for customers with unresolved Canterbury and Kaikōura claims, as well as lodging claims for homeowners affected by last week’s earthquake."

Ms Walker is encouraging any homeowners whose properties may have been damaged by last week’s earthquake to go online or contact EQC about lodging a claim.

EQC’s website has more information about what to do after an earthquake at:

https://www.eqc.govt.nz/get-help-now-claims

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