Claims handling by insurance companies after the Kaikoura earthquake has received a mixed assessment in presentations to the New Zealand Earthquake Commission (EQC) inquiry.
“Some were very happy and compared it favourably to their Canterbury experience,” a brief summary of feedback to the inquiry says. “Others reported poor communication and the feeling insurers were drawing out the process to ‘wear them down’.
“Private insurers were positive about the insurer-led approach.”
The EQC inquiry is mainly focused on lessons from the Canterbury earthquakes, but has also welcomed input on subsequent events such as Kaikoura, where earlier involvement by private insurers was trialled.
The “snapshot” of feedback released by the inquiry on Friday says many participants say the EQC should no longer be responsible for managing claims following its performance after Canterbury.
“Many would like private insurers to take on this role, but others thought this would be no better,” the document says.
“The inquiry also heard calls for better co-ordination between the EQC, insurers and recovery organisations, and greater oversight of the EQC and the insurance industry.”
Many New Zealanders who have made claims after a catastrophe feel a “deep mistrust” of the EQC, private insurers and the building industry.
The inquiry has received 972 written submissions and heard from people who attended 18 public forums held across the country.
A full summary of responses will be published in December and Inquiry Chairman Silvia Cartwright will present a final report with recommendations by the end of March.
“My focus is now on taking all that I have heard and read, including a large amount of research and study of documents relating to the EQC, and turning it into a final report that will help make a positive difference for New Zealanders,” she said in a message on the inquiry website on Friday.
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