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Even more questions after EQC announcement of new claims resolution service

Following the announcement yesterday from EQC that the organisation is going to undertake consultation regarding a new claims dispute resolution service, many more questions need answers.

Ali Jones who has been working alongside Canterbury insurance claimants for a decade, says she is disappointed that the consultation is to take place online and not in person.

“As I am sure Dame Silvia would attest to, when she undertook her in depth review of EQC, being in the same room, genuinely listening to people and having a conversation, was essential to achieving genuine engagement and consultation,” she says. “Once again it appears that EQC is wanting to very closely manage and control a process that should have the homeowner, the claimant at the centre of their considerations,” she says.

The consultation will be made up of two one-hour sessions with a “presentation” from EQC followed by “an opportunity for questions”.

Jones says that a closer look at the website of Fair Way. the organisation that has been appointed the new dispute resolution service provider, appears to show no insurance and specifically no earthquake claim or event claim cases in a drop down option on the webpage promoting their experience.

“I am not averse to another organisation running the claims dispute resolution service for EQC however as with the EQC of old, it has steamrolled ahead without considering the claimant. How on earth a new provider can be appointed, obviously after a scope of the service provision has been pretty much locked in, before any consultation with the very people who will use the service, is clearly pre-determination and that’s worrying.”

Jones adds that EQC must make clear why the NZ Claims Resolution Service, which she understands put themselves forward to continue the work they have been doing for over a decade, was sidelined for a new provider. She cannot understand why EQC appears to want to reinvent the wheel and there are several more questions she says EQC must answer after the announcement yesterday.

“These include; What’s the new service costing EQC (NZCRS was a free service)? What’s the EQ and disaster event claims experience Fair Way has? Why is the consultation happening after the service provision and provider have been decided by EQC? Where will the CEIT (Canty EQ Insurance Tribunal) be in the resolution process with a new provider in place? What happens to the current provider –

NZCRS? What was the scope provided to those who tendered for the service? What does the contract with Fair Way look like – service provision-wise? Why does the EQC website propose that if agreement can’t be reached between claimant and EQC, the courts are the only option at the end of the resolution process? Does that mean accessing the Tribunal currently supported by the new resolution service (as happens now) will no longer be an option?”

Ali Jones also says that EQC is saying that this new service is needed because the Natural Hazards Insurance Act (2023) which takes effect on July this year, requires it. She asks why did they not continue with NZCRS as they have done for many years? “If that service needed adjustments, why not do that instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater? What exactly were the issues with NZCRS that required a whole new service provider appointed and why were they unsuccessful?”

Ali Jones encourages as many people as possible to take part in the consultation and contact their local MP as well as the Minister for EQC, David Seymour, to raise the significant concerns related to what EQC is doing.

 

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