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Resolving disputes with customers arising from the Canterbury earthquakes

Prior to the Canterbury earthquakes EQC’s experience was limited to responding to a number of minor to moderate sized events, involving several hundred to several thousand claims.  Due to this EQC only had experience in receiving a small number of complaints and did not have a formal process for handling those customer complaints.

Prior to the Canterbury earthquakes, customers who disputed their claim with EQC could seek resolution through the Ombudsman, and/or the courts. In the decade leading up to the Canterbury earthquakes, there were only a handful of court proceedings and only three of these proceedings required a court hearing.

The volume of claims, complaints and legal issues that EQC faced after the Canterbury earthquakes was unexpected and EQC was overwhelmed by demand.

EQC recognises that the processes it used over the past nine years often left customers taking court action for what was essentially a settlement dispute, and this led to customer frustration, stress and suffering.  Litigation is a legal process, and should only be used as a last resort to clarify points of law.   

Briefing: Resolving disputes with customers arising from the Canterbury earthquakes (PDF, 5.3MB)

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