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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Just not coping - a problem relationship with an insurance company

The New Zealand Herald has reported the case of a Christchurch man who threatened to set fire to himself as a protest against the treatment he was receiving from his insurance company (here).

The circumstances are complicated, as they often are, and the relationship between the man and his insurer had got to a very bad state. Considering the rough handling a number of us have had from EQC, insurance companies and others it is not a surprise to hear that the relationships deteriorated as much as it did.

As all the power resides on one side of discussions and negotiations, an increasing number of people have diminishing respect or tolerance for those inadequate or incompetent (and amoral?) employees of the insurance industries they have the misfortune to be forced to deal with. Sadly these employees are not being sufficiently guided, controlled or mentored and the checks and balances that are supposed to be in place just don’t seem to work until situations become desperate.

Perhaps Minister Brownlee might like to direct some of his plain speaking to the wider insurance industry? Maybe time for an in-depth review of the performance of the insurance industry?

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FAQ change - How EQC is assessing damage

EQC have made some modifications to the information on how damage assessments are arranged, carried out, and how health and safety considerations influence what they are able to do (EQC page here).

Amongst other things EQC now state that the assessor will be accompanied by an estimator with a specific level of qualification (LBP or Licenced Building Practitioner).

The revised text reads (coloured bits are the additions):

The home assessment process

After you've lodged your claim, an EQC assessor will phone you to make a time to visit your property and carry out a full assessment.

This is a detailed appraisal of the damage to your home. It will be carried out by an assessor and an estimator (licensed building practitioner).

  • You need to be available at the property for the full assessment.
  • We will provide at least 24 hours’ notice (unless a different arrangement has been previously negotiated).
  • Appointments can be re-arranged.

The EQC representatives will inspect:

  • every room in your house
  • the ceiling cavity
  • the under-floor areas, if possible
  • outbuildings and retaining walls, if covered as part of the dwelling.

The EQC representatives won't be able to enter any areas that they believe are unsafe.

The previous version of the same information read:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More about dealing with hard bargainers

Back on the 2nd of August there was a blog item Dealing with hard bargainers, in which the bargaining tactics used by professional, and at times less than scrupulous, negotiators might use (think people working for insurance companies, EQC, ACC, government policy people and cabinet ministers). The blog item was based on articles written by Auckland barrister and professional mediator Nigel Dunlop (here).

Nigel Dunlop has written another article about dealing with these sorts of people called Still more hard bargaining tactics.  In the article he covers ten tactics of which he says:

The 10 further tactics described below involve a heavy dose of pretence and deception. I am not necessarily advocating their use. As mentioned in my previous articles, the use of tactics should have regard to considerations of ethics and personal style. However, knowledge of the tactics enables defence against their use.

1. Representative cloak
2. Phantom player
3. Disguising opinion as fact
4. Feinting
5. Red herring
6. Linkage
7. Trial balloon
8. ‘Predicting’ a favourable offer
9. ‘Failing’ to understand
10. Appearing irrational

The full article is here.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Avonside Blog update

On Tuesday of last week Blog Central relocated to Kaiapoi.

It was a somewhat fraught experience with Southern Response doing their best, but not able to keep up with the pace of events. The law firm acting on our behalf did a sterling job of prodding Southern Response to complete the paperwork and produce the money. The more sinister part was the thuggish phone call from the CERA Call Centre a few days before settlement making impossible demands on our moving out and threatening prosecution for trespass if I ever set foot back on the land at 57 Cowlishaw Street from the moment of settlement.

We got out in one piece, at a price, and now see why Kaiapoi is so popular with those who live here. 
Paul and I will be seeking a chat with CERA management over their hardened attitude concerning settlement dates and departure, especially in the face of delays and poor communication from insurance companies who seem reluctant to cough up their contribution to the settlement process.

There has to be a more humane way of helping people to leave.

Will keep you posted.
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