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EQC massaging figures and closing claims to produce ‘preferred’ statistics

Information received today via an Official Information Act request shows recent information provided by EQCs Chief Executive is incorrect.

Christchurch earthquake claimant and former Christchurch city councillor, Ali Jones, says the comment made last month by Tina Mitchell stating the oldest claim EQC has is 2 years old, is wrong.

A copy of the most recent report from the director of the NZ Claims Resolution Service, obtained under the OIA by Jones, shows that at least 73 EQC claims with the service are between 2 and 6 years old.

“It’s disappointing that despite the number of reports, reviews and recommendations that have been undertaken over the years related to EQC, there still appears to be a lack of openness and more importantly doing what’s right and correct for the claimant, when it comes to managing claims,” she says.

What Jones has also discovered is that EQC considers a claim closed when they send settlement or sometimes other documentation to the claimant.

“It is implicit in the word settlement that there is agreement. Homeowners are receiving emails and when they contact EQC they are told their claim is closed. Then it is reopened and EQC considers it a new claim – hey presto, old claim numbers are reduced. It’s a sham,” says Ali Jones.

Today is the closing date for the EQC consultation regarding a proposed new Dispute Resolution Service, something Jones says has also been mired in murky information creating a lack of clarity.

“I have received responses to questions I’ve asked EQC related to why they are wanting a new DRS when one exists and their reply has been disingenuous at best and total avoidance at worst,” she says. “All EQC has done is repeat their previously released explanation that they were required to do this under the act.(Natural Hazards Insurance Act 2023). What they don’t answer is why, when the Act it is clear that EQC is required to establish a new service if one doesn’t currently exist, have they created a new service when one does exist? It would be great to get some straight answers.”

Also under the Act, it is EQC Minister David Seymour who has the final say on the establishment of a new dispute resolution service, and Ms Jones is imploring him to consider his decision very carefully.

“This is a waste of taxpayers money, the procurement process was closed (only a handful of EQCs preferred suppliers were invited to tender) raising issues of whether they have breached the government’s own procurement rules, and the proposed new dispute process will remove claimants right to natural justice as the only option for them should they disagree with a dispute decision is to go to court which many can’t afford. Minister Seymour should look beyond any briefings or information EQC has given him as it is clear from what is in the NZCRS report, things are not as EQC suggests.”

 

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