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Getting your claim reviewed

If you’ve discovered missed earthquake damage to your home, land or contents, you can request a review of your original Canterbury claim. The process for requesting a review differs slightly depending on the type of claim — either building, contents, or land.

If you’d like to discuss having your claim reviewed, please contact us.

Initial claim review process

  1. Contact us to discuss your concerns. Provide us with as much information as you can. See below for the types of information that may be helpful to have on hand.
  2. A settlement specialist/claim manager will be assigned to review your concerns.
  3. The settlement specialist/claim manager will contact you to discuss the next steps.
  • Building details

    Classifications can be found at propertysearch.canterburymaps.govt.nz
    Tick both boxes if relevant.
    Please summarise the extent of missed damage or sub-standard repairs and why you believe this damage is earthquake related.

    By submitting this form you confirm that you are a current licenced building practitioner, registered building surveyor or a registered engineer and have inspected the property yourself. 

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Reviewing a building query

There are several reasons why you might request a review of your building queries.

More on building reviews

You might request a review of your building queries if you’re concerned that:

  • EQC’s settlement did not include all earthquake damage.
  • EQC’s repair work or repair strategy hasn’t or won’t repair the earthquake damage to the standard required by the EQC Act.
  • EQC’s cash settlement wasn’t or isn’t sufficient to meet the reasonable costs of undertaking EQC’s repair strategy.

How to request a building claim review

Contact us with your claim number or address of your property ready, or complete our online Claim Review Form.

Useful information to provide

Sometimes, you will already have information that could assist your settlement specialist/claim manager with understanding your concerns when you contact us.

Information to include (but it is not limited to);

  • A list containing the specific damages that you are concerned about and the rooms where they are located.
  • Examples of how you noticed the damage: e.g. doors not shutting, carpet has been lifted, cracking on the wall, you have a professional report etc.
  • Any photos you have taken of the damage.
  • Any reports or documents you think may be helpful during the review.

Your settlement specialist/claim manager will be able to discuss all the above with you if you have any questions.

Information for building contractors

Ask your contractor to complete this step to inform EQC of your damage details.

This form is for building contractors to submit detailed information about missed damaged or sub-standard repairs.

Contractors will need to include the property claim number so please note this on your assessment visit.

Contractor statement of damage – Online lodgement

Contractor statement of damage – Printer friendly

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Reviewing a land claim

If you have concerns with the decision made for your land claim, or you have new information that supports your concerns, you can ask us to review your claim. Contact us first to speak to one of our team about your concerns and the next steps.

More on land reviews

You might request a review if your concerns relate to the following:

Depending on your concerns, there are different types of supporting information that you can provide that may be helpful for you to share with us. We encourage you to contact us so we can help explain the information that may be required.

If you already have information that you think may support your concerns, you can send this to info@eqc.govt.nz or post to PO Box 311, Wellington 6140.

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Reviewing a contents claim

Many outstanding contents claims relate to homes that have been or are to be demolished due to the severity of the damage caused by the earthquakes. These claims are usually for carpets and drapes.

More on content reviews

Information to support your contents claim

Provide any one of the following:

  • Confirmation from your private insurer that the home is to be demolished
  • Demolition certificate
  • Other evidence that the house has been demolished or rebuilt

Damaged items

In some instances, there may still be outstanding claims for items that were damaged at the time of the earthquakes. If you would like to claim for these items, please complete a Schedule of Contents form. Alternatively, speak to one of our team about your concerns.

Some things to think about:

  • Do you have photos of the damaged items?
  • Do you still have the damaged items?
  • Have the items been in storage?
  • It would be useful to understand why your concerns were not lodged at the time of the original claim

In February 2019 the EQC Act changed in regards to contents cover. Find out about the changes on our Act changes page.

 

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Claim review question and answers

A variety of Q&As about EQC's claim review process.

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The following Q&As outline the requirements and process for requesting a claim review.

Requesting a review

1. What information do I need to provide?

You will need to provide supporting information such as photos, professional reports and contractors quotes.

2. What are my responsibilities when submitting my request for a claim review?

You are confirming that the information you submit is true and accurate and you have not withheld material information. You are also confirming that if, in the future, you become aware that the information you provided is no longer accurate, or you have new information, you will advise EQC as soon as possible.

3. What will EQC do with the information I provide?

We will use your information to decide whether we will review your claim. We will look at your Claim Review Form, taking the additional information into consideration. This will result in us either confirming our original decision or deciding to review the claim further.

This is the process:

  • You submit your completed Claim Review Form and supporting information.
  • We review the Claim Review Form and supporting information, together with information we already hold.
  • We determine whether a more detailed review of your claim is appropriate.
  • We let you know if a more detailed review of your claim is appropriate.
  • We conduct the review.
  • We may carry out a site visit and would contact you to arrange this.
  • We will finalise the review of your claim and advise you of the outcome.

4. Why might EQC determine you have no further entitlement?

Some examples of where EQC may determine that you have no further entitlement under the EQC Act:

  • If we determine that all earthquake damage has already been assessed and settled according to the EQC Act.
  • If we determine the works you have asked us to review have been completed to the standards required by the EQC Act.
  • If the works you have asked us to review were cash settled and completed by a contractor that you or a previous owner privately instructed (the repairs were not completed by EQC or anyone contracted by EQC).
  • If you are bringing earthquake damage to our attention that is not related to the claim you are asking us to review. For example, the earthquake damage is related to the Kaikoura event but you are asking us to consider damage caused by a Canterbury event. If the earthquake damage is related to a different earthquake event or natural disaster, you generally needed to have made a separate EQC claim within the three month claim period for that event (a new claim must be lodged for each natural disaster event).

5. If my claim review changes my settlement, will my excess change?

Possibly. If we are rectifying work already completed as part of the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (CHRP) this will not change your excess amount. However, if our review determines that new and/or additional work is required we may need to recalculate our settlement and this may change your excess amount. We will adjust the payment to include any change in the excess.

6. I have bought the property since the earthquakes. What do I need to do if there are issues with the house?

The owner of the property at the time of the earthquakes may have agreed to assign (or transfer) all or part of their EQC claim entitlement to you (or a previous owner). EQC needs to have been advised of the assignment and supplied with relevant clear written documentation recording the assignment.

In these circumstances, the person receiving the benefit of all or part of the claim (i.e. you, the purchaser) will receive any remaining entitlement under the EQC Act. You will receive any assigned entitlement up to EQC’s cap for an event.

However, where a related private insurance claim has also been assigned to you, you may not have the same private insurance entitlement as the original owner, or any entitlement from the private insurer at all. You will need to seek further advice regarding the private insurance situation.

For further information on the transfer of an EQC claim, please visit our website: www.eqc.govt.nz/transferring-claim

Explaining the issue(s)

7. What are workmanship issues?

Workmanship issues refers to repair work that was carried out by a contractor which does not meet EQC’s obligations under the EQC Act.

If the repair work was carried out by a contractor that was not engaged by EQC, then this is not a matter for EQC.

8. What is the standard required by the EQC Act?

EQC is required to meet the “replacement value” standard prescribed in the EQC Act. This definition of “replacement value” includes the cost “reasonably incurred” in “replacing or reinstating the building to a condition substantially the same but not better or more extensive than its condition when new” modified as necessary to comply with any applicable laws.

9. What is missed damage?

Missed damage is earthquake damage that was not identified when your property was assessed and as such did not form part of the scope of works.

10. What is a repair strategy?

With every claim, regardless of how it is to be settled, EQC identifies a strategy that it considers will repair the earthquake damage in accordance with its obligations under the EQC Act - to replace or reinstate the building to a condition substantially the same but not better or more extensive than its condition when new

11. What should my description include?

You need to provide details of your concerns about the settlement, including a detailed description of the issues, where the damage is, how it was identified and photos and measurements where possible.

If you are unable take measurements or photos because the relevant part of the house is inaccessible, note that in your description.

12. What is helpful to include in the photos?

Take photos that show a close-up view of the issue you believe you have identified. Ensure the photos are as clear as possible.

Take photos of the aspect of the issue from further back as well, as this can help to put it into perspective.

If possible, draw a line on the photo around the area you are concerned about.

Name the photo file with the name of the part of the house in the photo, such as bedroom or kitchen (or write this on the back of the photos if you are sending us physical copies).

13. What should a contractor’s quote or report include?

Any quote or report you submit to us must be an independent quotation from a qualified   professional. You will pay for the quote or report and EQC will reimburse you the fair and reasonable costs of the report if the claim is accepted. It must:

  • be printed on the qualified professional’s letterhead
  • include the qualified professional’s GST number
  • include details of the location and extent of the earthquake damage
  • include a room-by-room breakdown of repair costs, including the cost per square metre of each repair strategy, and the measurements of the earthquake damaged areas.

If the nature of your request is very minor, and you believe it does not warrant a quote or report, please discuss with your settlement specialist/claims manager.

14. Do I need an engineer’s report?

If your request is related to damage to structural elements of your home, it may not be necessary to provide a structural engineer’s report at this point, but you can choose to do so.

If EQC decides the previous settlement is appropriate, but you don’t accept that decision, then it will be up to you to obtain further information and / or expert reports. This could include a report from a structural engineer, to support your position.

If you decide to engage an engineer, it’s important you choose one who is suitably qualified with experience assessing houses for earthquake damage. They should

You’ll find information about obtaining expert reports on the EQC website at www.eqc.govt.nz/expert-report-factsheet

15. Will EQC reimburse me for an engineer’s report of a contractor’s assessment or report?

EQC may reimburse you for the fair and reasonable cost of an engineer’s report or a contractor’s assessment, or a report you have commissioned if the costs are fair and reasonable and:

  • EQC accepts that the report or assessment:
    • uncovers legitimate natural disaster damage that EQC did not identify during the assessment of your property and/or
    • identifies managed repair work under the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (CHRP) which does not meet the standard required under the Act and/or
  • EQC agrees with the repair strategy and/or the further earthquake repair works recommended.

It’s important to note that reimbursement of such costs is not guaranteed. EQC will determine whether to reimburse you for the cost of a report or quote based on the specific facts of your claim review.

16. Will an EQC assessor need to visit my property?

We will review the detailed information you have provided on your Claim Review Form and supporting documents, together with the relevant information we hold about your EQC claim. We may need to visit your property if we need more information. If so, we will contact you to arrange this.

17. When might EQC use an engineer or other expert?

If EQC decides to review your claim, then we will consider whether engineering or other expert advice is required to complete the review. If we decide that advice is required from an engineer or other expert, we will engage the expert at our expense.

18. What if the repair work costs more than the payment received from EQC?

Your settlement is based on the quote you have provided to EQC from your contractor.

Settlement of your claim

19. How will EQC settle my claim?

Once you have provided all the required information, EQC will review to determine the extent of any additional liability relating to earthquake damage and that the scope of costs are fair and reasonable.

If the work is non-structural, EQC will confirm in writing that you can go ahead with repairs. When the repairs have been completed and the required supporting evidence has been provided, EQC will pay you (or the mortgagee) within 7 working days.

If the work is structural, EQC will work with you to determine a suitable settlement pathway.

If further earthquake related damage is discovered at a later date you can contact EQC by calling 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243) between 7am-9pm, Monday to Friday, or 9am-5pm Saturdays or by emailing info@eqc.govt.nz

20. How will EQC pay me?

If there is a mortgage registered against the title of your property, we may be required to pay the settlement to the bank or lending institution that holds the mortgage. If you do not have a mortgage, and do not have a joint bank account, we will need written agreement from all the legal owners of the property as to where payment can be made to.

If we have bank account details on file, we will need them confirmed so we can pay any cash settlement by direct credit. You can do this on the Claim Review Form or over the phone.

In addition to providing your account details in the Claim Review Form, you need to provide a pre-printed bank deposit slip, screen shot of electronic bank account details or a letter from your bank identifying your bank account number. We can accept these electronically if they are scanned and emailed to us. You will need to give us your claim number at the same time.

Available support

21. How do I choose a contractor to undertake works?

If you are unsure how to find a contractor, you could visit the websites listed below:

22. Who else can help?

Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS) provides free, impartial advice to residential property owners. Call GCCRS on 0508 624 327.

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Limitation Legislation

This section talks to the length of time EQC customers have to issue proceedings challenging a settlement for a claim made under the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 (EQC Act).

More on the limitation period

When does EQC consider the limitation period starting?

EQC’s position is that it does not consider the six-year limitation period in the Limitation Act 1950 and Limitation Act 2010 (together, the Limitation Act) runs from the date of each Canterbury earthquake.

EQC will approach the six-year limitation period for each land, building and contents claim from each earthquake, as running:

  • where an EQC claim has been settled, from the date EQC settled that claim;
  • where an EQC claim has not yet been settled, from the date when EQC settles or declines that claim; or
  • where a claim is declined, from the date that EQC declines the claim.

EQC reserves the right to change its approach to the application of limitation periods, but if it does so it will give public notice of that change. Any such changes will not have retrospective effect, and will not be relied on by EQC until 6 months after the date EQC has published public notice of its change on its website.

When is the settlement date of a claim?

If your land, building or contents claim has been settled, EQC will calculate the limitation date for that claim from its settlement date.

If your claim has been settled by payment:

  • The limitation period starts running from the date EQC makes payment in settlement of your claim under the EQC Act.
  • Where EQC has made one or more “top-up” settlements for a claim, then the date will be calculated from the most recent settlement payment.
  • If no payment is made because the settlement due is less than the excess amount, the date will be calculated from when EQC communicates its settlement position to the customer.

If your claim was settled through repair under the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (CHRP) or through an EQC managed repair:

  • The limitation period starts running from the date of practical completion of the repairs.
  • If there have been further repairs carried out by EQC after the date of practical completion, then the date will be calculated from the most recent date those further repairs were completed

When is the date that a claim has been declined?

If a claim has been, or will be, declined (which may also be described as “not accepted”, “closed”, or other similar language), the customer will have received correspondence from EQC communicating that decision. The limitation period will begin to run from the date in that communication.

What if my claim hasn’t been settled or declined?

If a claim has not yet been settled, and has not been declined, then the limitation period will start to run only when the claim is settled or declined.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why doesn’t EQC announce an extension of the limitation date, as insurers have done?

EQC’s approach to limitation periods takes into account the circumstances of each individual claim and allows customers six years after that claim was settled or declined to decide whether to bring legal proceedings.

Insurers have announced extensions of the limitation date because some consider that under their policies the limitation period starts running from the date of each earthquake. However, EQC does not consider that is the case for claims under the EQC Act.

How the Limitation Act applies to policies provided by private insurers may differ between policies and people should talk with their private insurer and potentially their lawyer about their individual claims.

What is the date of practical completion?

The date of practical completion is the date that EQC and its building contractor agreed that the repair work to your property was completed, apart from minor issues that could be rectified without affecting the use of the property.

What should I do if I disagree with my claim settlement?

If you have any concerns with your settlement or become aware of new information relevant to your claim, you can raise this with EQC for review. 

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