"Highlighting the inadequacies of the way in which the earthquakes of 2010-2012 were handled by the insurance industry! "

EQC and the Private Insurance Industry Be Warned!


It was no surprise to me at all to read the article about EQC being bullied by angry homeowners. (See A man walked into EQR Hub and went bananas and who can blame him! I am amazed that the population has taken so much pain and anguish on the chin for so long. Perhaps that’s all about to change!SAM_1856

We have 20 hubs around the city and we’ve had to make the fences slightly higher, put in exit doors for staff and the reception counters are higher now too, so people can’t jump over them easily“, said David Petersen the Fletcher EQR general manager. (‘EQC Workers Bullied’, The Weekend Press, Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3, 2013 by Georgina Stylianou). There have been plenty of other incidents too – but these of course have not been reported. I noticed with interest on National Radio news about a week ago that Christchurch police officers will be wearing tasers (stun gun) on their belts, the first city in the country. Christchurch is getting a lot of firsts these days- charter schools, tasers- it’s looking more like ‘disaster capitalism’ everyday! Naomi Klein (author of the “Shock Doctrine”) would have a field day here!  The reason for the new policy had something to do with an apparent defect with the car storage units that normally house the guns. Really I found myself thinking…

After the September 4th earthquake of 2010, EQC had a permanent staff of 22, as time has gone on the staff numbers have swelled to at one point 20,000. Since then the staff numbers have slowly been diminishing. This in itself is inexplicable in light of the numbers of claims unresolved. The EQC permanent staff did a reasonable job immediately post September 2010. Two of those permanent staff assessed my home after the earthquakes and declared it a rebuild. In the two and a half years since that time I have had five separate visits from EQC, after every visit we have watched the quantum of damage move steadily downward – at one point an assessment of less than $100,000.00 worth of damage. We have also watched with interest as the quality of the staff sent to the property has diminished and the amount of time spent on site has diminished dramatically too.

Unsurprisingly the Ombudsman has been swamped with official complaints and inquiries in relation to EQC in the past financial year. (See Some have complained to the Institution of Professional Engineers over “incompetent EQC assessors who had admitted to having a maximum five days of training”. The stories abound! (See ).

EQC has done a lousy job explaining how apportionment works in practice, why it’s so difficult and why it’s taking so long. The state-owned insurer owes its customers far better information than has been provided thus far. (See On top of this the private insurers use EQC’s slow resolution of claims as an excuse not to start settling individual’s claims. P.S. there’s nothing in your policy that states that you have to wait for EQC – hold your insurers to account- their relationship with EQC has nothing to do with the policy terms you have with your private insurer.

Amazingly the Earthquake Commission chief executive Ian Simpson has received a pay rise of about $70,000 in the past year, despite the Commissions failing to meet its customer satisfaction targets. (See Then there’s the EQC mediation service which seems to have amounted to nothing. (See Then there are all the stories of corrupt dealings at the hands of various assessors. (See Despite the genuine complaints EQC senior management continues to protect the offenders.

We are yet to hear about the incidents taking place in some of the private insurance offices around the City but no doubt there are plenty and it will only be a question of time before they start surfacing.

All I can say to EQC and the private insurance industry is ‘be warned’. You have left the population of Canterbury dangling for the last two and a half years and people are beginning to say enough is enough. People are finally twigging that what is taking place in Christchurch is a ‘set-up’. There is no need for an insurance claim to take two and a half years to settle. Enough with the excuses about ‘an unprecedented event’. Look at the settlement statistics from the US and Australia. (See Cantabrians are being given the run around  and we’re not talking about just a couple of hundred people- but thousands (See Why? the answer is simple – because there are no protections in place for policyholders in this country. I know plenty of people whose homes need demolishing and could have been cash settled 18 months ago yet insurers keep them dangling on – the financial rewards of delaying the claim are just too enticing.


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Author: Sarah-Alice Miles

Love to write, create and watch the clouds move across the sky - these days in the Netherlands. 'Art allows us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time'.

13 thoughts on “EQC and the Private Insurance Industry Be Warned!

  1. I would like to be able to comment about my dealings with EQC.
    But so far, I have only received one visit from EQC which resulted in an incomplete assessment, as an engineer was required for assessment completion.
    At the end of last year the property turned green with no technical category, from the previous white zoning.
    I have now been told my file is with the Fletcher’s EQR Technical team who will be carrying out my first full assessment. For this I was told I should be hearing from somebody before the end of the year.
    When is my home to be assessed, let alone repaired. Anyone’s guess


    • They know your assessment is wrong (60% are) so it will be picked up when they builder comes round to do a scope (EQR). If he is a good builder you’re ok, if not? Well, ask for another, but how r u to know? You could ask your insurance company for an assessment? Or get an engineer in yourself? I know it is hard; I have to ask myself the same questions.

      Another way would be to opt out (if you know a good builder you trust), when extra or non-documented damaged is found they come round and assess straight away and approve (or not) the variation.


  2. I am pleased to have found your blog…and website and thanks for all your are doing. .it is nice to know I am not alone in the struggle. I have refused to let Fletchers take control of my home after the scope of works from three inspections being minimised, to “cosmetic” when I have a house slumping 50-75 mms and breaks in my roof framing and movement off the foundations. I have now authorised others to act for me as it was impacting my health further (another cancer survivor having to cope with all this on top of that stress) and my children’s health and well-being. What bothers me is how we are all struggling against the might of EQC/EQR and insurance individually and being picked off without a chance to do anything collectively. Individuals lose the plot and fight – get on the news – or go on hunger strike and get THEIR Claim sorted but those of us still let struggling are no further ahead or in fact there is LESS in the “pot” and the struggle becomes tougher and nastier. IT does feel like we are being picked off one by one. Divide and rule – and it seems also that those that cannot fend for themselves or fight are going to get swamped causing a form of ghetto in Christchurch in pockets. Those that had good assessments done early and managed to get their claims through have done remarkably well and been able to move on and live comfortably – on the other side of town…..yet there is now several classes of people in Christchurch who remain unable or still battling and feels like we are back peddling… When you child is concerned every day at school that a quake could have your house collapse you realise we are no further forward than September 2010 when most of the damage occurred for us.


    • Sally I too am pleased you have found my blog. Indeed one of the problems is mobilizing the group- I also believe that the industry ‘picks us off one at a time’ – it is hard to get people to work together and the sad fact is that until we do nothing will move quickly. I have tremendous belief in the poewr of the human spirit and its ability to overcome what seems at times to be insurmountable challenges. So take what you can from this site and use it to your advantage. Mobilizing others is the key to our plight. Take care and I look forward to meeting you somewhere along the road to ‘recovery’.


  3. It has always been clear that the way Insurance Industry works best is that you pay them money and they succeed in giving you nothing in return …. and that works really well for them….that our govt is colluding in thiis deception is SHAMEFUL but the night I spoke to J.Key he twice referred to Chch as a ‘Manmade disaster’ and then corrected himself …..curious a new conspiracy was born….just follow the money!!!


  4. Sarah Miles,
    The media is not interested in keeping EQC or the Government honest. TV3 – John Campbell has done a great job so far. TV1 is more interested in keeping after 7pm program rather than having news that shows how we care for people of this country. The media will write about a small fraud but the likes of big business with get away with murder in case of FINANCIAL DEALINGS.
    We have a case in Hamilton where EQC paid for subsidence on a property that should never have been built on. When it had the forth earth slip and became dangerous the HCC invited EQC to fix the problem they created. We went to EQC and asked WHY? ANS – it is none of your business.
    The money by EQC has been invested in all sorts of financial deals that we have no right to know. Question should be asked of Government and EQC – WHERE HAS ALL THE MONEY GONE THAT THEY HAVE COLLECTED – since EQC was created?
    When you find the answers please tell the people of NZ and especially Christchurch. No one is held accountable in the country !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  5. Three large and intimidating EQC “Engineers” came to look at my house, I was told I was the cause of the delay, what did I know about safety and structural stability……..after all the lead “engineer” was a police officer of 30 years standing !!!!
    There will be blood on the streets as we regain control of our destiny and city.


  6. How do we get this article into the Auckland News paper??


  7. Thank you for your article. It continues a dialogue which is needed here in Christchurch, at the very least as an outlet for us all struggling with these issues and at best a chance to gather some social and political momentum hopefully with some media support. Quite alot more could be said, anecdotes supporting what you say are boundless. People are angry and desperate and a guiding figurehead is needed. All of New Zealand should be watching with interest what happens here, it could be them next time and civil rights are being eroded in this country. Unfortunately it seems the real story of a city suffering by degrees with post traumatic stress and being hung out to dry by EQC/insurers and Fletchers, is not being told. Who will be held accountable years from now?


  8. It is funny how they only report it is only the EQC workers that are bullied. When I know and can show you cases where the Home Owner has been bullied and odered out of their homes while the workmen are working in their house. Bullied into accepting sub standard work. In some cases cracks in block work filled with putty. Furniture being painted around and not moved away from a wall. I could go on and on but their are plenty of people that can tell you the horror stories about the lack of workmanship that has gone into their homes. I know these cases first hand as I have had to put them right at the home owners expense which they should not be doing but are so worn down by EQC that they feel it is better to pay to have the mess put right


    • I concur with your views. I have seen the shoddy unprofessional attitude of some these Fletcher workers.. All care no responsibility.. I terminated my my final scope of works with Fletchers ….not prepared to risk and be disappointed


      • Hi William. When you terminated your final scope of works with Fletchers were you offered any type of payout? or does that mean they signed your house off? I wonder what percentage of us are having our scope of works continually downgraded. Does anyone know of EQC been taken to court yet?


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