Kaikoura earthquake 14 November 2016

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Management of Kaikoura claims

EQC has received over 38,000 residential claims for damage caused by the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake which is the second largest event in EQC's history after the Canterbury earthquakes. The majority of claims lodged are for building damage only (71%), 10% for building and contents, 9% contents only and 10% land damage. Christchurch, Wellington, North Canterbury and Marlborough are the top locations for claims lodged. 

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Kaikoura earthquake

In December 2016 EQC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Kaikoura earthquake with a number of insurance companies (AA Insurance, AMI, FMG (Farmers Mutual Group), IAG’s bank partners (ASB, BNZ, Westpac and The Cooperative Bank), Lantern, Lumley, Medical Assurance Society / Medical Insurance Society, NZI, QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited, State, Tower Insurance – Fintel, Tower Insurance Limited, Vero (including AMP, ANZ, and Warehouse Money policies underwritten by Vero), Youi NZ Pty Limited). As a result, participating insurers have been assessing and settling EQC home and contents claims for earthquake damage from their own customers, including those claims that are under the EQC cap.

EQC-managed claims

EQC is still managing some claims from the Kaikoura earthquake directly. Private insurers don’t insure land damage so EQC is looking after all land claims. In addition, EQC is also managing building and contents claims which are mainly from people who have an open claim from another natural disaster event (e.g. 2013 Seddon earthquake or 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes). 

Variation to MOU

In June 2017 EQC signed a variation to the original MOU with private insurers that extended the time period of the original MOU to include claims relating to earthquake damage arising from earthquakes centred in and around Kaikoura (including Scargill) through to and including 13 December 2017.

The period within which claims for natural disaster damage arising from earthquakes centred in and around Kaikoura were covered by the Kaikoura MOU variation has now ended. This means if there are any earthquakes after 13 December 2017, any EQC claims will not be in the scope of this MOU.

If a customer is currently waiting for their Kaikoura EQC claim to be settled, the insurer managing their EQC claim (whether that is EQC or their private insurer) will continue to progress that claim under the MOU.

If there is another earthquake after 13 December 2017 and the property suffers earthquake damage as a direct result of that event, the customer needs to lodge a claim directly with EQC.

Previous claim information

Previous claim information (from an event before the Kaikoura earthquake) may be provided to the insurer where the information is considered relevant for the purpose of assessing and settling a Kaikoura claim. EQC provides this information to the insurer on the basis that they are acting as agent for EQC under the Kaikoura Memorandum of Understanding. EQC can provide certain information on previous claims to ensure that we are fulfilling the functions of the EQC Act, such as checking that EQC has not previously settled a claim for the same damage. Each request for prior claim information is assessed on a case by case basis to ensure that the provision of the information is relevant to the settlement of the Kaikoura claim.


EQC and Insurance Council NZ have put together a frequently asked questions document for customers with insurance claims from the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. Visit the Frequently asked questions on Kaikoura earthquake insurance claims page  for the most common questions about assessments, settlements, post-settlement, private insurers as EQC’s agents, timeframes and customer care. 

Land damage

EQC covers the land that the house sits on, as well as land within eight metres of the house. Land within 60 metres of the house that is part of, or supports the main access to the house from the boundary is also covered.  

Find out more about land and what we cover here.

EQC also provides cover for:

  • Bridges and culverts that are situated within 8 metres of the house, or on land within 60 metres of the house that is part of or supports the main access way; and

  • Retaining walls and their support systems that are necessary for the support or protection of the house or insured land (including main access way) if they are within 60 metres of the house.

See our Factsheet on and structures (PDF) to find out what EQC covers.

Sometimes natural disasters cause damage which can lead to further damage in the future. For example, after a landslip, further land may fall from the slip area over time. Damage resulting from a natural disaster that EQC considers will occur in the year following the event is called “imminent damage”. 

See our Factsheet on imminent damage (PDF) to find out what it is and what we cover.

Land assessment and settlement

Once you’ve lodged your claim with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) or your insurance company, an EQC assessor will inspect the land damage to your property. Depending on the type and extent of land damage, further technical experts such as geotechnical engineers or valuers may be required to help EQC assess your damage and determine your claim settlement. 

See our Factsheet on the land assessment process (PDF) to find out more about happens after you’ve had your land assessment done. 

EQC land cover is usually capped at the dollar value of insured land that has been (or will imminently be) lost or damaged as a direct result of the natural disaster. 

See our Factsheet on settling land claims (PDF) to find out more about what EQCover pays for and various examples of how EQC calculates settlements for land damage. 

Post cash settlement

If you receive a cash settlement to make repairs to your home either from EQC or your insurance company, you will find useful information in the following government factsheet Information for people receiving insurance payments for repairs (PDF).

Most New Zealanders only contract or do significant building work once or twice in their lifetimes. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has provided information to help homeowners make informed decisions by knowing their rights and obligations.

To manage your building repairs once you have received a cash settlement see MBIE’s detailed guide called Rebuild with Confidence.

Managing Kaikoura earthquake complaints

EQC and the private insurers who are handling claims for damage as the direct result of the Kaikoura earthquake aim to make the claims process go as smoothly as possible. However we recognise that things don’t always go to plan, so we have outlined below the agreed approach to resolving complaints. 

EQC-managed claims

If you have an issue about your claim which is managed by EQC, we suggest you contact your claim manager in the first instance. If you don’t know who your claim manager is please contact EQC. If your issue cannot be resolved internally we can guide you through our external dispute resolution service options. For more information visit our complaints page .

EQC is managing all land claims for damage caused by the Kaikoura earthquake, as well as building and contents claims from customers who:

  • have an open claim from another event (e.g. Seddon 2013 or Canterbury 2010-2011)
  • are insured by a company which is not part of the agreement with insurers for the Kaikoura event, or
  • have direct insurance with EQC. 

Insurer-managed claims

If you have any concerns about your building or contents claim or your settlement amount, contact your private insurer in the first instance. They can explain their internal disputes and complaints management process to you and make recommendations on the next steps.

All private insurers handling Kaikoura event claims are signed up to the Fair Insurance Code which sets out best practice standards for members of the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ). The code covers service levels, responsibilities and complaints procedures. It includes information about how insurance companies should handle complaints.

If your private insurer has been unable to resolve the issue for you, and your complaint is about a factual issue, you can take your complaint to an external disputes resolution service or for all other complaints, you can refer them to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

You also have right of redress through the Courts for all complaints.

External disputes resolution service used by private insurers 

Complaints which arise from QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited are dealt with by Financial Services Complaints Ltd  (FSCL). 

Complaints from AA Insurance, FMG (Farmers Mutual Group), IAG (includes State, AMI and insurance managed through ASB, BNZ, Westpac and The Cooperative Bank), Medical Assurance Society/Medical Insurance Society, Tower Insurance Limited, Tower Insurance – Fintel, Vero (including AMP, ANZ and warehouse money policies underwritten by Vero) and Youi NZ Pty Limited are dealt with by Insurance & Financial Service Ombudsman Scheme (IFSO Scheme).

How to access information about your EQC claim 

For information held on your EQC claim file, please approach your private insurer, who managed your EQC claim as EQC’s agent. The insurer will provide you with the information. 
If your claim for Kaikoura earthquake related damage was managed by EQC and you would like some further information about your claim, please contact EQC on: 

Information Requests 
Earthquake Commission
PO Box 790
Wellington 6140

Q&As on Kaikoura complaints process

What can I do if I am not happy with my EQC settlement?

In the first instance you should discuss this with your claim manager and provide them with any additional information that supports your case. If you don’t know who your claim manager is please contact EQC or your private insurer, whoever is managing your claim.

If you can’t agree, the next step is to ask your claim manager to access their internal complaints procedure where your claim will be re-considered.

If you still can’t agree, you should ask EQC or your private insurer, whoever is managing your claim, to guide you through the next steps in their complaints process.

What options do I have if my private insurer who is managing my EQC claim and I do not reach an agreement over my complaint?

The insurer will set out in a deadlock letter to you that one of your options is to have the complaint reviewed by its external dispute resolution scheme, which will usually be either Financial Services Complaints Ltd (FSCL) or the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme (IFSO Scheme), depending on which scheme your insurer belongs to.

If your complaint is based on the legal interpretation of the EQC Act, your external disputes option is the Office of the Ombudsman.

Your insurer will tell you whether your dispute relates to the legal interpretation of the EQC Act and let you know who to contact.

Regardless of the nature of your complaint, you will always have a right of redress to the Courts.

What are FSCL and the IFSO Scheme?

These are organisations that provide an external disputes resolution to consumers with complaints about their financial service provider, including insurance claim. Their service is independent and free for customers of their scheme participants. Their decision is confidential and binding for the private insurers and EQC.

FSCL is the external dispute resolution scheme for QBE. The IFSO Scheme is the external dispute resolution scheme for AAI, FMG, IAG, MAS, Tower, Vero and Youi.

I’ve received my EQC settlement from my private insurer but I want some further information about it. Who should I contact?

In the first instance you should contact your insurer who managed your EQC claim as EQC’s agent. The insurer will provide you with the information. 

Support available

Independent Support Agencies

Check out this page to find out more information.

Temporary accommodation

If your house is so badly damaged you cannot stay in it, your private insurer is the best person to talk to. It’s a good idea to read your policy to find out what you may be entitled to.

See our Guide to temporary accommodation (PDF) lists key things to be aware of, if you need another place to stay.

Related information

The Kaikoura District Council organised a community meeting to answer residents’ questions about insurance claims and pay out process. For residents who weren’t able to attend the event, the council livestreamed the meeting on their Facebook page. To watch the video click here.

EQC guides

Kaikoura Earthquake

(PDF, 22 Nov 2016)

  • Make your home safe first
  • Earthquake Commission claims
  • Lodging a claim
  • Am I covered by EQC?

A simpler process for Kaikoura

(PDF, 13 December 2016)

  • How EQC is managing claims from the Kaikoura
    earthquakes along with the private insurers.

Guide to urgent repairs

(PDF, 13 Dec 2016)

  • What to do first 
  • Where to get help

Guide to chimney repairs

(PDF, 13 Dec 2016)

  • Make your chimney safe
  • What EQC covers

EQC Claims Manual for Insurers which sets out policies on how EQC interprets the Act for insurers as EQC’s agents to follow.


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