EQC advice ahead of Cyclone OmaFriday, February 22, 2019Keep a check on the weather forecasts and making sure that your home is secured and weather tight

Source: Earthquake Commission – EQC

As Cyclone Oma heads towards New Zealand, the Earthquake Commission is prepared to assist homeowners with lodging an EQC claim if the impact is as severe as some are forecasting.

Deputy Chief Executive Operations, Paul Jepson, says whilst it remains unclear exactly which parts of the country could be affected by the cyclone, homeowners should contact EQC and lodge a claim if their property suffers damage.

“Last year a number of storm events, including ex-cyclones Fehi and Gita, caused flooding and landslip damage across different parts of the country, and it is possible that Oma could do the same if it makes landfall here.”

Mr Jepson says that the safety and welfare of family, friends and neighbours comes first in every natural hazard event.

“Our advice is keep a check on the weather forecasts and making sure that your home is secured and weather tight to reduce the risk of damage occurring.”

“It is important that New Zealanders are prepared, if however if any homeowners suffer damage to their property they should contact EQC as soon as possible.  We can then work with you to better understand the situation and how we can help.”

Background Information

EQC covers storm and flood damage to residential land only, with home and contents damage covered by private insurance according to the terms of an individual’s policy. 

EQC coverage of land is limited to land that is within your land holding – and includes:

  • land under your home and outbuildings (e.g., shed or garage)
  • land within eight metres of your home and outbuildings
  • Land under or supporting your main access way, up to 60 metres from your home (not driveway surfacing).

EQC land cover includes:

  • bridges and culverts within the above areas
  • some retaining walls that are necessary to support or protect your home, outbuildings or insured land
  • The removal of debris, such as silt or fallen trees, from the insured land (not replacement of items on the land, such as trees, plants, lawn and driveways).

The timeframe for lodging a claim has been extended for up to two years under the recent changes to the Earthquake Commission Act.

EQC has more specific and detailed information on what it covers on its website – eqc.govt.nz/storm-damage

Claims can be lodged online at eqc.govt.nz/claims, via email on info@eqc.govt.nz, or by calling 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243). The EQC call centre is open 7am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 6pm on Saturdays.

EQC Media: David Miller, 029 978 6430, dmiller4@eqc.govt.nz

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Update on EQC’s response to Dunedin landslip Friday, February 15, 2019EQC has worked closely with Tonkin & Taylor to finalise and review geotechnical reports

Source: Earthquake Commission – EQC

Dunedin residents whose properties have been affected by the landslip have been contacted again this week by the Earthquake Commission to update them on the situation regarding their claims.  

Deputy Chief Executive Operations, Paul Jepson, says that EQC has worked closely with Tonkin & Taylor to finalise and review the geotechnical reports.

“Over the past few weeks, our team has been working to get an accurate picture of the damage and the cost of repairing the land. We have carried out a very thorough assessment of the geotechnical data that T&T have provided to us to enable us to determine the settlement for each homeowner.”

Mr Jepson says that EQC has been in contact with the homeowners to say that it expects the engineering report to be available to them next week and to provide a timeline for when they can expect to receive their EQC payment.

“Over the next couple of weeks, we will have our valuations completed and  finalised the settlements for each homeowner. We are aiming to provide these to homeowners by the first week in March.”

Mr Jepson says that EQC is also keeping the Dunedin City Council informed of its progress in managing the claims that it has received. 

“We are working with the Dunedin City Council so they can make an informed decision on whether the slip damage still poses a risk to homeowners and whether the houses are safe to occupy. This is a separate process from EQC’s assessments and homeowners who have been evacuated from their homes due to safety concerns should discuss this issue with the Council.

“We will continue to talk with each of the homeowners and provide them with information and support throughout the claim process.”

Background Information

What does EQC cover for landslips?

With landslips, EQC covers natural disaster damage to residential land with a property boundary, and includes:

  • The land under a home or outbuildings (e.g. garage or sheds);
  • The land within 8 metres of a home or outbuildings;
  • The land under or supporting the main access way, up to 60 metres from a dwelling, but not the driveway surfacing.

EQCover for land damage also extends to the following:

  • Bridges and culverts within the above areas, and
  • Some retaining walls and their support systems necessary for the support or protection of a home or insured land including the main access way within 60 metres of a house.

How much can EQC pay out?

EQCover pays the lesser of either:

  • The cost to repair the damaged land, or

The value of the damaged land, or the value of 4,000 square metres, or the value of the minimum-sized building site allowed in the area in which you live – whichever is the lower.

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EQC welcomes Act changes and gets ready to respondWednesday, February 13, 2019The Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission has announced changes to the Earthquake Commission Act

Source: Earthquake Commission – EQC

The Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced changes to the Earthquake Commission Act, which will be phased in over the next 12 months.

The EQC Amendment Bill has been passed in Parliament and builds on the lessons of recent event responses including the Canterbury earthquakes. There are four key changes to the law:

  • An immediate extension of the timeframe for lodging a claim from three months to two years.
  • Provide EQC scope to share information as necessary to settle insurance claims;
  • Removal of the $20,000 EQCover for contents from July 2019; and
  • An increase in the cap on EQC residential building cover to $150,000 from July 2019.

Changes to contents cover and the increase in the residential building cap will be phased-in over 12 months from July 2019 as existing insurance policies are renewed or replaced.

Under the changes, EQC will continue to insure residential buildings and land, although it will no longer provide cover for contents.

The EQC Act has been under review since 2012 as successive governments have considered changes to natural disaster insurance arrangements and the management of risk and recovery in New Zealand.

“The review, and the changes that have been announced, have looked at the lessons, not only from the Canterbury earthquakes but other events since the current Earthquake Commission Act was enacted in 1993,” says Chief Executive, Sid Miller.

“Along with these policy changes, we have also introduced a range of operational and organisation changes since 2017 to improve our claim management processes and customer experience.”

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

When will these changes come into effect?

The changes to information sharing and claims lodgement rules will take effect from the day after enactment of the Bill. 

The changes to contents cover and the increase in the residential building cap are expected to take effect as homeowner’s policies are taken out or renewed over the 12 months from 1 July 2019. 

Will this affect my existing EQC claim?

Your existing claim will not be affected by the amendments, as we will continue to manage it under the current provisions of the Act, e.g. $100,000 cap still applies to existing claims.

The improved information-sharing provisions will apply to all existing and future claims-related information held by EQC.

How will these changes affect future EQC claims?

The changes broaden how we can apply the Earthquake Commission Act. Once the Bill is enacted, you will have up to two years from when your property incurs natural disaster damage. The residential building cap will increase to $150,000 on each claim from 1 July 2019.

The two year claims lodgement deadline will be available to any claim arising from an event from the day after enactment of the Bill. 

There will be a 12-month transition period as your insurance policies renew or are replaced from 1 July 2019. 

We will continue to work closely with insurers over this transition period to ensure you receive the correct entitlements based on your underlying insurance policy. 

The new EQCover will be fully in place for all our claimants from 1 July 2020.

Will EQC continue to insure land?

Yes. The amendments make no change to EQC’s land cover.

What is the information sharing provision and what does this mean for personal information?

The updated provisions contained in the amendments provide scope for us to share information we collect about residential property claims lodged with EQC. However, this does not mean that we share your personal information such as your contact or financial details.

For example, if private insurers act as EQC’s agents to settle claims, as they have done for the Kaikōura earthquake, we will be able to share previous claim information on the property.  Another example is that we can provide claim information to a prospective buyer of a house that we have previously repaired.

In regard to personal information, we are still bound by the provisions and protections under the Privacy Act. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has been closely consulted in the development of the Bill and the information sharing provisions reflect the advice received from the Office.

What does ‘property information’ mean?

The amendment defines property-related information as information about natural disaster damage to a residential property (dwelling and land) and any claims made under the Earthquake Commission Act.

It also covers information about the assessed cost of replacing or reinstating damaged property, what repair work has been carried out and settlement amounts.

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EQC funds science journalism awardWednesday, January 16, 2019The awards allow journalists to spend time investigating science-related issues that matter to New Zealanders

Source: Earthquake Commission – EQC

EQC is very pleased to announce that it is funding an Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund Award in 2019 in the area of natural hazards risk and resilience.

The awards provide journalists with the opportunity to spend time investigating science-related issues that matter to New Zealanders.

Dr Hugh Cowan, Director Resilience Research, says that with the pressures on journalists nowadays, it is very hard for them to get the time to do in-depth reporting, particularly in the science area.

“Natural hazard risks and how those risks can be reduced is an extremely important topic for New Zealand.

“We’re asking journalists to present ideas for articles on EQC’s key resilience goals which are stronger homes on better land, connected by infrastructure that can withstand disaster – and access to insurance – so it’s a wide area.   

“Our aim is for communities to understand the natural hazard risks they face, and to be able to make informed decisions on how to reduce the impacts.  A lot of scientific research has been done, but it’s not always easy to understand.  Journalists play vital role in translating the science and bringing it closer to communities making these decisions.

“The Science Journalism Fund awards have so far led to major articles on everything from big data privacy issues to climate change and we are very pleased to be adding natural hazards resilience into the mix through our EQC award,” says Hugh.

You can see more about the awards at https://www.sciencejournalismfund.nz

EQC invests $16 million in scientific research each year to help reduce the impact of natural disaster on people and property.

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