thechristchurchfiasco

"Shifting the Balance of Power in the insurance industry – back to the policyholders! "

Securing our Future: Response to John Campbell of Campbell Live 20 May 2013 – Guest post by Herman Meijburg

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Hi John,

I was much impressed with what you shared with us on your last night’s program “Campbell Live” (21st May 2013). Listening to my fellow Cantabrians and what they had to say quietened me down. When you talk about resilience, about “standing tall” in the middle of their tribulations, these people are the true heroes of our city. They blaze a trail for the country. (See http://www.3news.co.nz/Chch-residents-share-EQC-frustrations/tabid/367/articleID/298487/Default.aspx). Compared with their testimonies Ian Simpson and Gerry Brownlee had no relevant, substantial or new input to give. It was the kind of talk we in Canterbury have heard numerous times before.  (See http://www.3news.co.nz/Brownlee-EQC-assessments-not-an-easy-challenge/tabid/367/articleID/298494/Default.aspx).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What I would like to bring to your attention is that these personal testimonies, although very moving,  do not reveal some of the underlying problems we face. Why are so many in Christchurch are still suffering?

Is it because, after two and a half years, EQC still hasn’t managed to get its act together?

Is it because people are continually disempowered by those who are appointed to come and help them recover their homes and lives?

Is it because of the lack of transparency and communication between national and local authorities in charge of the recovery?

Is it about the ill match of rebuilding a central business district in the city without at the same time supporting and rebuilding struggling communities?

Is it because the peoples’ recovery is being “left to the market”?

Is it because of the fact that in the process the building codes have been changed on three different occasions, driving the costs of repairs down and consequently the insurance settlements down – at the expense of the equity in people’s homes?

Is it because property developers are preying on what bargains are to be had and turning condemned places into temporary rental accommodation, making small fortunes in the process?

Is it because a disaster of this scale proves that the protection of affected citizens cannot be left to the corporates with no authority holding them to account?

Is it because the corporate insurers cannot juggle policyholder protection while simultaneously pleasing their shareholders?

Is it because governments no longer prioritize the protection of the afflicted and the most vulnerable in society?

Is it because in our own capitalist societies’ financial considerations outweigh human need?

Is it because we have chosen to go down the wrong track by choosing individual gain and prosperity over and above the common good and well-being of the people at large?

These underlying motives and drivers should and need to be explored and exposed. They deserve ongoing public debate. This is where the lessons are to be learned.  Until and while we as a Nation, remain unable to go down this road of self-reflection, personal stories will continue to break our hearts, but they will continue to leave us paralyzed all the same, because, in the end, nothing will change for the better.

Herman Meijburg

Author: Sarah Miles

Trained as a lawyer, psychotherapist and mediator. My goal is to make my voice heard for the causes in which I believe so as to improve and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable society. I believe in the enormous power of the human spirit and the power within each of us to effect major change. "The only triumph over evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing". https://thechristchurchfiasco.wordpress.com/

3 thoughts on “Securing our Future: Response to John Campbell of Campbell Live 20 May 2013 – Guest post by Herman Meijburg

  1. i also feel there is no contract between me and eqc i have always paid my account direct to my insurer. surely the fair trading act covers this? if i buy a tv off say harvey norman and have a problem with it they now cant say to me”you contact samsung direct”my insurance coy should be sorting out my claim AND then THEY should be dealing with eqc ; what is the legal position here?????

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  2. Margaret T – I take your point, but actually the only permanent way to settle this ‘forever’ is to boot out the private insurers, establish KIWISURE as an all-new, dedicated Crown entity, staffed with genuine professionals and separate from the government general account. It could easily pay for itself and even be cheaper after a few years.

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  3. John Campbell is to be praised for at least raising and re raising the issues. Either Simpson & Brownlee are incapable of finding solutions to the problem of apportionment or Simpson at least is more interested in maintaining his own position so here is a suggestion to help. Where the EQC and Insurers estimates of repair costs substantially differ the insured should be given the choice of which organization they want to deal with the repairs, both organizations then provide the other with an indemnity so that when the final figure is available of actual cost incurred is known (probably after the repair is complete) settlement between EQC & Insurer is made. Personally I have never received a insurance policy from EQC and pre quake had no contact and I viewed the EQC levy as a sort of excess for insurers that in the event of a claim would mean insurers would handle the claim and recover the first $100k from EQC so by taking over the effective making and assessing of claims both parties have disadvantaged the insured and in equity there should be compensation for at least the delay, perhaps the IRD rate of interest accruing from 3 months after each claim event should be applied to assist both parties in finding a solution to delay etc.

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