New Zealand Law Society - EQC says no one-size-fits-all approach to natural disasters after difficult 12 months

EQC says no one-size-fits-all approach to natural disasters after difficult 12 months

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The Earthquake Commission’s annual report for 2016-17 reveals it responded to a number of different events during the past year while continuing to settle claims for the 2010/11 Canterbury earthquakes.  

The 14 November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake was the third-largest event in its history with around 40,000 new claims being lodged. There were also claims lodged for the Te Araroa and Marlborough earthquakes and floods in Edgecumbe, Auckland/Coromandel and across Wellington.  

The report says the events of 2016-17 have shown that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to responding to a natural disaster. EQC worked in partnership with local councils and contracting companies to clear properties in Edgecumbe, and has made strong progress in settling claims for the Kaikoura earthquake through the agreement with private insurers. 

At the end of October, 65% of all building claims, 92% of all contents claims and 93% of all land claims for the Kaikoura earthquake had been settled. In Edgecumbe, 144 properties were cleared of silt and debris, out of the 272 claims lodged at June 30 2017. Only two properties still have to be cleared. 

Canterbury quake claims still to be settled

In Canterbury, there were about 3,500 outstanding claims at the end of October 2017. Settling all remaining claims for the 2010/11 earthquakes remains a key priority in the coming year the Commission says.  

EQC paid $760 million for the total cost in settling claims for all events during the financial year.

Going into 2018, EQC says it is focused on settling claims for all natural disaster events, especially the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes, while building an organisation that can deliver value and service to customers in the future.

Chief executive Sid Miller says helping New Zealand communities respond and recover from the recent natural disasters is has been core to EQC’s work during the year. But he says there remains room for improvement.

“EQC acknowledges that the way it measures its performance against the Statement of Intent and the Statement of Performance Expectations can be improved.

“Management is putting effort into developing a set of measurable targets in support of EQC’s strategic intentions that can be clearly reported on. This will allow the public to clearly see the impact that achievements made by EQC have had at an outcome level. In 2016-17, EQC made progress towards its strategic objectives and the targets set for administration, customer service, research and education. Understandably, the management team and staff were disappointed not to meet the organisation’s stated goals for managing Canterbury claims,” says Mr Miller.