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Saturday, March 2, 2013

CERA and OIA requests

Getting official information out of CERA presents a similar range of challenges as will be found with a number of other government agencies (not counting EQC who play harder with delay, wilful obfuscation, obstruction, and antagonism performed at Olympic levels).

Despite the occasional challenges, it is very encouraging to see that CERA now have provided information on how to request official information from them using the internet. The first is via the standard CERA info e-mail address, and the other using a form on their web site. Both of these can be found on the Contact web page here (half way down the page). You can of course use the traditional method of sending a written request.

Not many government agencies do this very simple thing, and hopefully CERA’s lead will be followed by others. One less than helpful agency that should follow this lead is the Christchurch City Council who hide their official information request details deep in their website (here), and try to make applicants limit their requests to either phoning the call centre or visits to the nearest suburban service centre (not appropriate conduct in terms of the OIA).  EQC do have an OIA web page (here), but only because the Ombudsman put a great deal of pressure on them.  When you visit their page it is all about how much they will charge you and nothing about open government or transparency.

Thanks CERA, every little bit helps.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

CERA - Community issues and questions update

CERA have started adding information to their Community Issues page (here). If you want to submit a question CERA ask that you do so via the CanCERN web page here.

The first two questions for which CERA have gathered responses are:

1   What kind of information am I entitled to receive about my property?

  • How do I get that information?
  • How long should it take?
  • Examples - scope of works, assessment documents

Answers have been provided by EQC, Southern Response, VERO, IAG, and Lumley.

2. Once payment has been determined when can I expect to receive it?
The talking points being;

  • Some people are receiving payment and some are not
  • What is the process and where do I fit?
  • Those overcap / <$15,000

EQC have provided the answer to this question.

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EQC - Update on Multi-unit buildings (flats, units, apartments, rest home units)

EQC have published information on how they are treating multi-unit buildings (here).

The information reads:

Update: Multi-unit buildings

1 March 2013

A special Multi-Unit Building Team at EQC is working on the complex assessment and settlement of homes that form part of a multi-unit.

A multi-unit is where two or more homes share at least one common element – such as a wall, garage, roof, foundation or cladding material.

To ensure our customers aren't disadvantaged in any way by the repair or rebuild of an adjoining dwelling, all claims on homes that are part of a multi-unit building need to be reviewed as a whole.

Multi-unit buildings include:

  • semi-detached units (the most common, and usually on a cross-lease)
  • apartments
  • mixed-use buildings (that combine commercial and residential use)
  • rest homes/retirement villages.

Typically, the repair strategy for one of the homes in a multi-unit building will impact on the repair of the one next door. One unit may have suffered only cosmetic damage while the damage next door may be structural.

Because most of these multi-unit homes have different owners, different insurers and different repair strategies, there is considerable complexity in resolving their claims. To add to the complexity, many multi-unit homes are on TC3 land.

EQC has recently escalated its focus on these complicated multi-unit claims, to speed up claim processing, resolve these issues and reach resolution.

Unattached, stand-alone properties on a cross-lease can, once reviewed, continue to be assessed through the normal claims process.

EQC - another update to the Contents Claims FAQ (especially affecting those whose home is to be demolished)

EQC yesterday further updated the claims page in a number of areas. Probably the most significant is for those whose house is to be demolished.

The new section reads:

Property in homes to be demolished

If your home is to be demolished as a direct result of earthquake damage and you've made a claim for contents that cannot be recovered from the house, we won't be able to settle your claim until we've been formally advised by your private insurer that your home will be demolished and that the personal property isn't salvageable.

The web page is here.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

EQC - updated information on land claims

EQC have updated their web page on land claims (here).
The principle addition is information about their booklet Guide to Canterbury Land Claims (February 2013 edition). Amongst other things the Guide covers:
    • how to make a claim for land damage
    • how EQC assesses and settles land damage
    • what is and isn’t covered, and
    • how much excess you’ll pay
    • specific information for owners of land in hill suburbs
    • specific information for owners of TC3 land
    • the land claim process
A copy of the booklet can be downloaded from the same page.
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Will you be out of the Red Zone by the 31 July deadline?

Late last year Minister Brownlee announced the deadline for departure from the residential Red Zones was extended to the 31st of July.

For many this was just the amount of extra time needed to get claims sorted, a settlement date agreed, find a new place to live, and get out.

With 31 July nearly four months away there are a few clear cases where departure still isn’t going to happen because of problems created by others. Insurance companies are part of the problem, along with land developers who promised early title availability and have failed to deliver. There are other issues too.

CanCERN are trying to assess the size of the problem and are running a brief on-line survey (here) of just four questions, and a box for additional comments. If you think you will be struggling to be out by the 31st of July please fill out the survey!

If CERA have rung to see how you are getting please also fill out the CanCERN survey, even if you have told them of the problems you face. If you have done our CowPats survey, please still fill out the CanCERN survey.

The CanCERN survey is important because the information is going into the hands of an organisation that serves the earthquake affected.  The information they gather will be a good reality check and counter-balance to official figures.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

EQC claim FAQ changes

EQC have updated their pages on making a claim, time frames, following up and insurance verification. The main page is here.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

A different insight into EQC

There is an earthquake blog called EQC Truths. It is the on-going story of “What Really Happens at EQC from an ex-EQC Employee”

As the blogger is anonymous there is no way of determining how accurate the posts are. However, from the articles blogged so far, and with a reasonable general knowledge of EQC, I would say the blogger knows a lot more than we do and is working to share it.

Some recent articles:

  • Internal EQC Study Reveals 30% of Assessments Had Critical Errors

  • EQC loses major insurance case

  • Why I Choose to Remain Anonymous

  • Beware of Fletchers says a Former Fletchers Employee

  • Your Claim Might Get Cash Settled

  • Today’s EQC Stuff Up

  • The EQC Reinsurance Rip-off

  • The Animals of EQC

This is an extract from the Animals of EQC article:

Instead of seeking feedback from the organisation on how to make it more efficient or how it could improve its dysfunctional processes, the entire EQC organisation decided to focus on “the kind of animal that EQC is today” and the “kind of animal you would like us to be”.  Imagine 120 people took time out of their “busy” day to submit their cards and “EQC leaders” spent countless hours meticulously examining the submissions to narrow it to a “Final 6”.  Perhaps one of the “analysts” at EQC could tell us the number of man-hours and financial costs expended on this ridiculousness.

Apparently EQC staff saw their organisation’s current totem animals to include the stegosaurus, cat, rat, tuatara, octopus and aardvark. For the future they looked toward becoming ants, Qi Lin, jaguars, humans, and swans. According to the blogger this animal identity information is extracted from an e-mail to staff from EQC’s CEO Ian Simpson in August of last year.

You can read these things on the EQC Truths blog here.

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