A simpler process for settling Kaikoura earthquake claims
December 13 2016
We’ve been working with EQC to simplify the way earthquake claims are managed. Rather than you having to lodge a claim with both EQC and AMI, we will lodge, manage and settle all house and contents claims related to the recent earthquakes. This will be regardless of whether your claim is under or over the EQC cap. This will deliver efficiency for everyone by reducing double handling through fewer assessments and handovers between organisations, which will speed up settlements.
What do you need to do?
- If you've already lodged a claim with EQC, then you don't need to do anything. We'll get claims information from EQC and contact you.
- If you still need to lodge a claim, contact us on 0800 100 200
Frequently asked questions
- Why is the approach to settling claims changing?
EQC and insurers want to provide a streamlined claims experience for people affected by the Kaikoura earthquakes. This will deliver efficiency for everyone by reducing double handling through fewer assessments and handovers between organisations, which will speed up settlements.
- Who do I contact to lodge a claim?
If you have already lodged your claim with EQC, you don’t need to do anything. EQC will transfer your claim to us and we will be in contact regarding assessment and settlement. If you haven’t lodged a claim yet, we can do that for you.
- I need to get some urgent work done to make things safe for me and my family. How do I do that?
If you need to organise emergency or temporary repairs, you can do so and we will reimburse you on receipt of your invoice. Examples of ‘make safe’ repairs are hot water cylinders, chimney removal, and temporary plywood walls. Any payment we make for urgent work will be deducted from your final settlement.
- Does this change what’s covered under the EQC Act and my insurance policy?
No. The joint approach does not change the entitlements you have under your policy or the Earthquake Commission Act (the Act). EQC has provided training to insurance companies on the specific requirements of the EQC Act. Insurers are simply acting as EQC’s agent so that you have a more streamlined claims experience, without the need for multiple assessments.
- My contents are insured with AMI and my home is with another insurer. How will I know if they are part of the arrangement?
Insurance Council of New Zealand members that offer home and contents insurance and have agreed to this new approach are: AA Insurance, FMG, IAG (AMI, AMI, NZI, Lumley and Lantern brands, as well as ASB, BNZ and Westpac policies), MAS, QBE, Tower, Vero (including AMP, ANZ and Warehouse Money policies underwritten by Vero) and Youi.
- How is AMI approaching the recovery?
We have begun assessments, starting with the most affected properties first - red and yellow stickered properties, homes that are uninhabitable or commercial buildings that are unusable. If you are concerned about the safety of your home or commercial building, or have other factors you believe we should be aware of – health issues etc - please advise us of your situation immediately.
We are establishing five Hubs in Kaikoura, Blenheim, Hanmer, Wellington and Christchurch to enable us to best respond to the scale of this event. The Hubs will contact all customers with a claim lodged to organise assessments. This contact will occur over the first few months of the New Year.
- How can I be sure that AMI is settling me on the same basis as other insurers?
AMI will act as EQC’s agent to settle your claim. We are settling claims in accordance with the EQC Act. All insurers will use the same set of guidelines provided by EQC.
- What if I don’t agree with my assessment/settlement?
EQC and insurers are working out a streamlined complaints process to best help you if this situation arises. The outcome will be that you will have access to a free, independent dispute resolution mechanism similar to the current ombudsman schemes.
- What will be assessed and settled and by whom?
Claim type Who will assess and settle Contents Private insurers Building Private insurers Contents and building Private insurers Land only EQC Land and building EQC and Private insurers Land and building and contents EQC and Private insurers
- When will an assessor visit my property?
We have already started assessing the worst affected properties in the most impacted areas. In the New Year we will contact all other customers to check the level of damage to your home and contents. Assessment may require a site visit. In some cases, such as for contents, you may simply be asked to provide specific information about damaged goods. It’s useful to photograph the damage and broken items as these will help to support your claim.
If an assessor needs to visit your property, they will have identification and they will arrive at a time agreed with you.
Land assessments by EQC will begin in 2017.
- Will AMI manage my repairs?
In the majority of cases, we will assess the damage to your home and contents and cash settle you for your loss. We believe cash-settling your claim provides you with the greatest flexibility. It provides you with the freedom to make choices that work best for your circumstances. You can choose your own builder, make improvements and alterations to your property and work to timeframes that suit you.
In some circumstances, for example, for vulnerable customers, we may offer a managed repair option. Please make us aware if you are elderly or have small children, have health issues, mental or physical disabilities, are under financial stress or are geographically isolated.
- What does a cash settlement cover?
The settlement is based on a detailed scope of works and a cash value that allows all of that work to be completed, up to the sum insured.
If your claim is under cap the cash settlement will comply with the provisions of the EQC Act.
- Will I have to pay an excess?
EQC excesses apply and will be deducted from your settlement payments. If your claim is over the EQC cap, an additional excess may apply.
- I have already done some urgent work and sent the invoice to EQC. What should I do about this?
Any information that is relevant to your claim is now part of your claim file, which EQC will pass on to us. If you have been reimbursed for urgent works, then this will likely be deducted from the final settlement.
- I have already lodged a claim and but I’ve noticed new damage since an aftershock. Who should I talk to about this?
Talk to us – we are handling all aspects of your claim including new damage. If this new damage is to your land, we will pass this information to EQC.
- Under the privacy laws can EQC and private insurers share my personal claim information?
Yes. Information that you provide is used to manage, assess and settle claims. As we are acting as EQC agents to settle claims arising from the Kaikoura earthquakes, we are able to share your information so work can be completed.
- Who is going to pay my claim? I have lodged a claim with EQC, and EQC have contacted me and been out to see my property. Who will settle my claim?
EQC will pass all information to us and we will settle your claim. You will not need another assessment, unless additional expert advice (e.g. engineering) is required.
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