Taking action to sort out insurance and Earthquake Commission mess

The Government is launching a special insurance tribunal to resolve outstanding Earthquake Commission (EQC) and insurance claims, as well as launching a public inquiry into EQC, says Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Megan Woods.

“Today’s Budget includes funding to establish an independent insurance tribunal to resolve outstanding earthquake claims so people can get on with their lives,” says Megan Woods.

“The tribunal will resolve unsettled residential insurance disputes arising from the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011,” says Minister for Courts Andrew Little.

“It will provide an active, individually case-managed resolution process for claimants and their insurers, as well as mediation services.

“This is a vital part of helping people get their claims sorted. People have often been waiting for years and this is needed to break through the deadlock,” says Andrew Little.

Budget 2018 provides $6.5 million operating funds and $1.5 million capital to establish the tribunal.

“The Tribunal will help people look to the future with confidence and hope, instead of being trapped in limbo with their lives on hold because of a claim that keeps dragging on,” says Megan Woods.

“We are also funding a public inquiry into the performance of EQC during these earthquakes.

“It’s important we get to the bottom of what went wrong, so that we are better prepared for future disasters. We owe it to the people of Canterbury, who have been through so much, to ensure their voices are heard.

“We also need to look at what was done well, and what has worked better in the Kaikōura earthquake sequence.

“This independent inquiry will have the power to compel evidence, hold public hearings and ensure all the information we need is put on the table.

“Budget 2018 provides operating funding of $800,000 in 2017/18 and $2.4 million in 2018/19, as well as $100,000 of capital in 2017/18 to ensure this inquiry has the resources it needs.

“The inquiry will usefully inform legislative changes to the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 and to EQC, and a planned review of insurance contract law.

“The final terms of reference and membership of the inquiry will be announced shortly,” says Megan Woods.