Government Plans Swift Earthquake Recovery

( Gerry Brownlee, the Minister responsible for coordinating the Government’s recovery response to the Canterbury earthquake, says the Government is working on a suite of streamlined measures to deal with the large volume of claims arising from the earthquake.

“We have been working over the last two days with insurers, the Earthquake Commission, banks and local government to ensure the process of paying out claims to people who have suffered damage is done as quickly as possible,” Mr Brownlee says.

The plan has four broad categories with the goal of delivering a speedy payout.

The categories are:

1. Claims for property and contents damage or loss where there has been no structural damage to the building will begin to be paid out from early next week.

2. Claims below $100,000 but where there is structural damage to the building will be subject to a fast-tracked process, the details of which will be announced early next week.

3. Claims with damage over $100,000 will be managed by a single point of contact for the homeowner.

4. For claims that involve only damage to chimneys the Earthquake Commission will join with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to offer the installation of a clean heat appliance as part of restoration.

“I want to acknowledge today to the community spirit of all the parties who would usually deal with major claims, often over many months, who in this extreme circumstance are banding together to create a special process for those unfortunate Cantabrians who have suffered damage to, or have lost their homes,” Mr Brownlee says.

Questions and Answers

When will this process be finalised?
We are aiming to have it in place by early next week.

When will I get my money?
Fast tracking of more straightforward claims will begin from early next week. Given the expected volume of claims it may be some weeks before individual claims can be assessed and we ask that claimants be patient.

How can I lodge a claim?
Contact the EQC though their website or by ringing 0800 DAMAGE. If your claim is relatively minor please hold off contacting EQC for a few more days, so that more urgent claims can be processed. For minor claims please use the website.

How do I decide which of the categories my claim falls into?
The EQC will do that for you.

What about claims for land damage?
The EQC has engineers on sites reporting presently and numbers will be increasing over the next week. They will speak to individual land owners about their particular circumstances. The EQC will be drawing on a pool of engineers from around New Zealand and from overseas for this work.

How many assessors are on the ground?
There are currently 36 assessors on the ground, and we expect that number to grow to 120 by the end of next week.

Media Release 10 September 2010 from Gerry Brownlee, Minister of Earthquake Recovery.