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Calls for change heard by Inquiry into EQC

Press Release – Earthquake Commission

People are saying they want to see more empathy, transparency, relevant expertise, quality assurance around assessments and repairs, and greater timeliness with claims, in feedback so far to the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission.20 May 2019

People are saying they want to see more empathy, transparency, relevant expertise, quality assurance around assessments and repairs, and greater timeliness with claims, in feedback so far to the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission.

To date, almost 400 formal written submissions have been received on peoples’ experiences with EQC and what changes are needed for the future, alongside more than 200 comments received via social media. A large proportion of the written input is expected in the coming days, with submissions closing on Sunday, 26 May.

Public forums have also begun, where people can speak face to face to the Inquiry. Written submissions can be made online ateqcinquiry.govt.nz, and detail about the public forums is also available on the website.

“Anyone who has experiences with EQC and views on change, but hasn’t shared them with the Inquiry yet, I would urge them to take the time to do so,” says Inquiry Chair, Dame Silvia Cartwright.

“These can be confidential if they wish. It is important we hear from people with a range of experiences – good, bad or otherwise. I’ve been encouraged by the quality of submissions we have received to date.”

“There are already some clear themes coming through. It’s obvious in the stories from people that many are still living with the lasting impacts on them and their families.”

“People have been prepared to detail their experiences – which clearly hasn’t been easy for some – and still focus in on specific changes they feel are needed in how EQC responds and handles insurance claims after disasters. Suggested changes are around issues such as the damage assessment process, managed repair process and claims management.”

“Some people have seen positive gains over time depending on who manages the claim, but that is still a contentious area.”

“I’m looking forward to receiving a good amount of further submissions in the coming days, before the 26 May deadline. Public forums will carry on beyond that time for people to come along and have their say in person.”

“I appreciate it’s often not easy to revisit difficult past experiences, but I hope people will do it for themselves and for others who will face the effects of natural disasters in the future.”

The independent Inquiry is tasked with making findings and recommendations as it relates to the operations, policies and service of EQC, following the Canterbury earthquakes and other natural disasters around New Zealand in recent years.

The Inquiry can find fault as it relates to EQC’s processes, but will not apportion blame or revisit individual insurance claims or legal judgments.

Dame Silvia expects to report her findings and recommendations to the Governor-General by the end of 2019, and they can then be considered by the Government.

ENDS

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