'Most demanding period of their lives': Woods to raise insurance concerns

Megan Woods. Photo: Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images
Megan Woods. Photo: Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images
Megan Woods will write to private insurers to request they become more involved in earthquake claim determination processes.

The Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration will do so on behalf of The Homeowners Advisory Group, which is concerned earthquake claims are sometimes resulting in lengthy, expensive court cases when insurers refuse to be involved in determination processes.

The group’s chairman Tom McBrearty said private insurers have been reluctant to participate in determinations to resolve disputed claims, which is reducing justice for claimants.

A determination is run similarly to the court process, but takes place in a less formal setting, gives parties a greater degree of flexibility than litigation and often leads to faster outcomes.

McBrearty said Southern Response and EQC are actively engaged in determinations, but private insurers are continuing to refuse to be involved in the determination process offered by the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service.

The advisory group works with the GCCRS, a service set up by the government in October 2018, to help settle claims.

Said McBrearty: “For some people it’s been, probably, the most demanding period of their lives. So, from a mental and social well being point of view, surely there’s a need for a process that is less demanding on the claimant.

“For all intents and purposes, many of the insurance companies are not participating in [determination processes].

“It [insurance companies participating in determination processes] removes long and costly case law argument using lawyers and so on, which is very expensive line to go down.

Woods met with the group about two weeks ago to hear their concerns and said she will outline them in a letter to private insurers “in the next couple of weeks.”

“It’s in response to concerns raised through the Homeowners Advisory Group of the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service. They’re not seeing the same level of participation [from private insurers] that we’re seeing with EQC and Southern Response within that group.

As of April, GCCRS has closed 2003 cases, with 999 cases remaining open.

 

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