Fast track process delivering for quake victims

( Earthquake recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the fast track process put in place to deal with minor house damage and lost contents has helped over 1,700 quake victims already.

“We said we wanted minor claims resolved quickly and I’m pleased to report that over 1,700 of the almost 61,000 claims lodged with the Earthquake Commission have been assessed and the first payments have been made,” Mr Brownlee said.

“This is an encouraging start to the recovery phase of our response efforts, but we know there are still people waiting for inspections and I want to assure them reinforcements are on the way,” Mr Brownlee said.

The Earthquake Commission has 158 people – including loss adjusters, estimators, engineers and office staff – on the ground in Canterbury today.

By Sunday that will swell to 283, and there will eventually be more than 400 people working for EQC in Canterbury settling claims as quickly as possible.

Mr Brownlee acknowledged that while it was pleasing to see minor claims being assessed and settled quickly, his major focus remained on developing a streamlined process for quake victims with house damage in excess of $10,000 but likely to be under $100,000, and those whose claims will exceed $100,000.

“We are progressing well on announcing streamlined processes that will have the buy-in of the Earthquake Commission, insurers, lenders and the building and construction sector by the middle of next week,” Mr Brownlee said.

“For those with major damage to houses and land this process is somewhat contingent on getting a precise picture of the extent of land damage and options for the future use of that land.

“This process is also proceeding well with over 100 geo-technical engineers reporting back to the Earthquake Commission every day, but given the sheer scale of this work I would request patience as we develop a cogent and workable plan for the people of Canterbury worst hit by this disaster,” Mr Brownlee said.

The first step for Cantabrians who have earthquake damage to their home or contents is to lodge a claim with the Earthquake Commission. This can be done using the commission’s free phone number, 0800 326 243, or online. Go to the Canterbury Earthquake box on the EQC homepage,, for instructions.

Media Release on 17 September 2010 from Gerry Brownlee.