community.jpg

November 2016 - Quake Support

 

Support Networks | Tips on EQC Claims | FAQ and Help


For anyone with a home damaged by the November 2016 earthquake sequence, this is an emotional time, filled with uncertainty. However, it is important that you take stock of your situation, and begin to assemble the support and resources you’ll need to recover from this, emotionally and economically.

EQCfix.NZ is here to offer you support and advice in navigating your EQC claim, drawing on six years of experience with the Christchurch and Canterbury earthquakes. There are some important learning that you will benefit from, including our in-depth understanding of your legal rights under the EQC Act. 

EQCfix is an independent public justice project setup specifically to hold EQC to the EQC Act. Insurance companies and EQC have not always met the standards you would expect, and the consequence can be emotionally and financially debilitating without the right knowledge and support.

You should sign-up for the EQCfix newsletter (on our home page) to stay up to date with information that will aid you in the months ahead. You should regularly check this website for resources tailored for your circumstances.


Social Media

A couple of quick things to help you access information when you are ready. If you are a Facebook user there are some really good Facebook Groups you can join. One new group has just been set up.

Email us at info@eqcfix.nz if there are other groups specific to your region you would like us to add.

Below are just a few others you may like to connect with. Don’t let some of the names put you off, they are some of the original groups people started up in Canterbury – some very knowledgeable folk. These are all closed groups, follow the links we have provided.

And of course Like our Facebook Page and add yourself to our contact list.


Next Steps

SOME TIPS:

  • Take photographs of everything
  • Find photographs of what your house was like before if you can
  • Check your insurance policy – understand your reinstatement standard
  • Know your full rights under the EQC Act – read the Joint Settlement
  • Get professional, independent advice

AS PART OF YOUR ASSESSMENT PROCESS YOU MUST:

  • Speak with a professional person that is not directly associated with an insurance company, this might be a lawyer or insurance adviser.
  • Have your roof cavities inspected – someone must go in the roof – vital!
  • Have your underfloor inspected – someone must go under the floor – if this is not done it is highly likely EQ damage won’t be correctly reinstated.
  • Get a Geotech involved if there are land issues - vital.
  • You may well need a structural engineer – vital.
  • Have professionally written instructions prepared and given to your experts, instructions that reference both the EQC Act and your insurance policy - vital.
  • Get professional, independent advice.

You'll have questions

Many questions from claimants and experts have been raised about how EQC and insurers are dealing with assessments and the claims process following the November 2016 earthquake. Consider if these questions are important to your claim.


THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

  • Gib is a structural product – if is cracked or twisted it may well need to be FULLY replaced.
  • There is a strong legal argument that rubble foundations cannot be repaired, rather to meet the standard in the EQC Act they need to be replaced.
  • Be careful when anyone tells you that they can use MBIE guidelines in assessing your claim; some guidelines may not meet the EQC Act or your insurance policy. See the Joint Statement for details on this and other standards EQC agree it must meet.
  • Under the EQC Act, EQC insures houses for replacement value, which includes the cost to reinstate a house to substantially the same as (but not better or more extensive than) its condition “when new” and the cost of complying with any applicable laws. EQC has in the past stated it only needed to repair to a "pre-earthquake" condition, in breach of its obligation. Again, read the Joint Statement for clarity.
  • Get a good lawyer and / or insurance adviser from the get go!

FAQ & help for claims

EQCfix has an excellent FAQ page with answers from New Zealand's leading legal experts in natural disaster insurance claims. This is a great place to start with the questions you'll face in the months ahead.