Earthquake Claims and Resolutions
We had the privilege of hearing from Ken Pope, National Manager of the Residential Advisory Service 
(RAS) and Darren Wright, Director of the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS) last Thursday.
These free services cover the greater Christchurch area and are funded by the Government under the Innovation & Employment Service.
The GCCRS service arose to help those people who have not been satisfied with the repairs of a home bought post earthquake after having discovered bad workmanship or damage not noticed by the original insurance companies and have not received adequate payouts to cover the repairs.
In 2018 GCRS settled 1400 claims and has approximately 1000 people they are continuing to help.
The service offers the following:
  1. Organise a peer review.
  2. A facilitator to work with the homeowners Engineer and the Insurance Company’s Engineer so they can share information and work out a satisfactory result.
  3. Independent Dispute Service with Engineers & lawyers.
  4. A determinate Service if required presided by a High Court Judge to make a final decision.
  5. Tribunal service.
  6. Community Law group for free advice.
  7. A case manager is assigned to your case to help with wellbeing, engineering and technical issues.
The GCCRS is different to other services available as the package they offer is significant in that it recognises the wellbeing of the homeowners first and foremost and acknowledges that many of them have struggled to obtain any satisfactory help.
The Government also recognised that those in the greater Christchurch area had not been treated fairly by some Insurance companies and that the Residential Advisory Service and the GCCRS needed to work together to benefit the homeowners.
The Government has allowed $300 million for this programme.
Donna Cherry, one of our own Papanui Rotarians, is a lawyer with the Community Law group which has helped 1500+ people since the GCCRS began. In its latest survey figures 92% of people who have been helped are satisfied with this free service.
75% of people have used this service through word of mouth recommendation. Although the funding has been extended by the Government through to June 2021 it is expected to be extended again due to the number of cases still to be resolved.
Some homes purchased post earthquake and have uncovered damage due to EQC repairs not properly undertaken up to the limit of $ 115,000 the homeowner can still be helped. They need to register the damage with EQC or contact GCCRS before the 14th October 2020 if they bought the property before the 14th August 2020.  After this date homeowners can still get help but the process to access help will be more difficult as the EQC ACT is always open.
Questions & Answers session from the floor was:
  • What if I am proposing to buy a house in the Christchurch area?
It is fundamental if purchasing to have a professional House check.
  • What if my Insurance was with Southern Response?
The Government now has an MOU with this group to settle claims fairly. Recommend working through the GCCRS for clarity around any specific situation and its FREE.
  • What is the average time it takes for a case to be resolved?
Anywhere between 4-6 months on average.
85% of people take a Cash Settlement while the remainder undertake the repairs required.
Residential Advisory Service (RAS)
Ken Pope outlined the role of the Residential Advisory Service which works in tandem the GCCRS.  It’s focus is on Canterbury and Christchurch but also works across NZ when large scale disasters strike.
They helped work through 16-18,000 claims in Kaikoura and have been involved in claims in Edgecomb, Whakatane and along the coastal area of Wellington with landslips. They respond to National disasters and contract the staff for the GCCRS.
For Christchurch homeowners the RAS assists with unresolved damage claims under the EQC regime. Resolution / settlements are limited to EQC payments criteria. This service is available for all home owners not just those of onsold properties.
Ken summed up the work done by both groups by saying his greatest satisfaction is “making changes to peoples lives each and every day.”
Keep up the good work and spread the word!