“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice,
but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
There are some pretty unbearable things happening to residents at the moment. It appears we have all signed up to contracts with EQC and the insurance companies that don’t come with any available fine print. Of course the fine print is there but we, the signatories of the contracts have never seen it. We don’t get to see the nuances of interpretation of policy and we certainly don’t get to see when the interpretations have been reviewed and changed nor do we seem to have any power to stop them. Or do we?
EQC has recently decided to change the way they administer the payments for repairs done under the ‘Opt Out’ scheme. EQC Changes Payout Rules – The Press 6 July. A new policy they say. IAG and VERO have decided to invoke ancient insurance law around the the Deed of Assignment meaning the purchaser of a damaged building may not be entitled to the full rights of the insurance settlement (full summary in last week’s CanCERN newsletter). Carpets and Drapes policies change, rebuild assessment magically become repair assessments as new tolerances are applied and cheap methodologies appear. Is this ok? … more next week…
Still Urgently need some spies. Please be on the look out for vacant pieces of land that we could use for storage and the creation of community based projects over the next 2 to 3 years. All ideas send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaiapoi High School is searching for a couple of kitchen stoves for the PTA and Student rooms in good condition that residents are willing to donate when they move on. If you can help please drop us a line.
Just a wee note to members who take parts from the CanCERN newsletter to use in their own communications with residents – if it’s come from our newsletter, please add a note identifying that.
Leanne and Brian
Meeting Wtih AMINZ
We met with representatives from AMINZ to discuss this further and although the details are still somewhat sketchy because they have not been finalised, we were impressed with the commitment of AMINZ to make sure their involvement in this area was of benefit to residents.
The areas of concern highlighted by us are as follows:
- AMINZ be seen as independent – We have discussed the need for AMINZ to be in control of the communication process to give confidence in their independence. AMINZ have also assured us that if they believe the process is not working for whatever reason, they will discuss that publicly.
- Cantabrians are often not in the ‘resolution’ mindset anymore. We need to see mediation as resolution, not complaint.
- EQC hands over the cases for mediation so control who is part of the process. People cannot self select to be part of mediation and so EQC could manage their own success by only letting through “easy” cases.
- At this stage, many residents do not have full access to all documentation about their claim. Therefore, it is difficult for them to be totally clear about their situation. We have asked AMINZ to make sure it is part of the process that all involved (EQC representation, claimant, mediator) have full access to all available information about the claim.
- The mediators being used need to understand the Canterbury situation and the state of mind of Cantabrians. During this discussion, it became apparent that a ‘business as usual’ understanding of how normal insurance relationships work could not be applied in Canterbury due to the difference in process and the fear of residents. Mediators need to be ‘living it’ to understand it!
On a positive note, AMINZ will be training the EQC negotiators to make sure the process is a safe one and follows the principle of positive mediation resolution. We will keep you updated on developments as they come to hand./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND?
WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND? - let us know what issues you are having or what support you need.
Lots of quite specific and technical questions this week. We will be forwarding these on and will publish responses as we get them.
Our house was demolished in march and has a land claim on it for last June and December . We understand there is no geotesting going to be done on it now as there is no house on it . But this doesn’t seem fair as there are land claims on it and we want to rebuild on it or sell it on . What are our rights please?
CanCERN’s response as we understand it: Geotech drilling will not happen on every property in TC3 as the Councils have agreed to accept the data gathered from nearby drills within the street. That means that even though your section may not be drilled, there will be data available to design the foundations for any repair or rebuild. If your insurer specifically requires drilling data for your property, they will organise it and it will not be at your expense. We are awaiting a response to the question of whether or not a homeowner can request that their section be drilled and what that would entail from the resident’s perspective.
I have a dwelling in the red zone measuring 78M square. The estimate to repair the damage is approximately $140,000 according to my insurer. EQC say it cannot reach cap as the formula used is based on $1,000 per square metre. I am now facing taking only the RV for my dwelling.( Govt offer 1) My insurer has no responsibility under this assessment regime. If the dwelling was in the green zone I understand Fletcher EQR would repair or rebuild it. Am I correct in my interpretation?
CanCERN is following up on the response to this.
I want to know more about IAG’s re-levelling policy, ie for concrete slabs 50-150mm out. What process will they be using? What guareatee period does it have, if in 10 years it fails where do i stand? Also, if I am not happy with this fix what rights to refuse do I have? What if i am not happy with the end result of the relevelling?
CanCERN’s response as we understand it: Repairs have to meet building standards to get consent. Therefore IAG assures us that any suggested repair strategy for re-levelling floors is in line with recommended practise (there will be different options for different types of damage.) They also cannot use methodologies that have not met certain longevity testing and again, assure us that their methods have a life span of approximately 50 years. These are really good questions to direct to the Hawkins people when you meet with them. Get the information and then do the research.
Some very good questions have been raised in the Avonside Blog relating to this question. Check it out here.
Please continue to use this form as it helps us track the issues and make sense of community priorities/************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
The CanCERN TC3 subgroup met last week to nut out a strategy. More details will be published soon. One of the issues for TC3 residents has been the feeling of invisibility. Red, White and Orange zones have generally been more visible to the public because Green was supposed to mean go. However, anyone in Green/Blue with foundation damage knows that ‘go’ can be a very long way away and the reasons for the delay are numerous, confused and frustrating. Part of the strategic direction of this group will be to increase the visibility of the Green/Blue zone and the issues they are facing.
Things have certainly not been easy for Red and White Zones but CERA have made concerted efforts to communicate directly with these groups. The difficult aspect of the Green/Blue zone is that CERA officially should have little involvement in the area. After the zoning, it becomes the responsibility of EQC and insurers as they are the ones managing the settlement process. But realistically, this is causing nightmares. EQC and insurers cannot agree on joint communications causing many confusing messages to be floating around. No-one is responsible for timeliness of either communication or action and co-ordination and collaboration may be a wish but are not a requirement.
So for it to work better, CERA is needed. The Recovery Strategy states that CERA’s role is to ‘coordinate recovery activities’ (p1). Surely there is no bigger recovery activity than the residential rebuild. This needs to be part of any activity to address TC3 issues and CanCERN will be using the opportunities we have to support the priorities of TC3./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Insurance and EQC Meeting Notes
IAG Insurance Meeting Notes – 19 June 2012
Communicating the insurance process through to settlement
IAG communications staff meets regularly with the other communications
people who represent the different insurance companies and EQC. IAG has put
together a flow chart which outlines all the steps that have to be ticked off before
settlement can be fully reached However, there are aspects of the flow chart
that EQC have asked to be removed so the final product will be missing these
points. We have asked IAG to talk us through the entire process so that we can
take responsibility for getting the full information out to residents. We are awaiting
IAG settlement offers
IAG believe every red zone homeowner insured with IAG should by now have a
settlement offer unless his or her claim has been held up by an internal dispute
Settlement offers in the green zone cannot be made until all of the necessary
information for each individual property has been gathered. This information may
include land damage reports, drilling geotechnical assessment data, flood zone
information, apportionment and financial liability between IAG and EQC.
Assignment of Deed of Rights
When you buy a house in the green zone that has suffered earthquake damage
you will be asked to sign the Assignment of the Deed of Rights so you can take
over the insurance claims from the previous owner. These will be the EQC
and the Insurer claims related to earthquake damage. A recent development
has come to our attention regarding this which you need to be aware of. At the
moment the following is only our understanding of this and is yet to be confirmed
but we thought it important to make this known as soon as possible as so many
are buying houses at the moment. We are seeking further confirmation on what
is happening in this area.
The Assignment of the Deed of Rights will not now be interpreted to mean that
ALL the rights and responsibilities of a previous homeowner and their insurance
claim will transfer to a new owner when purchasing an earthquake damaged
property even though this is stipulated in the present Deed of Rights wording.
When a person buys an earthquake damaged property they also legally take
over the insurance claim of that property up to the point of settlement if the
property has not been fixed, rebuilt or settled properly by the insurer (this would
include EQC claims). The assigning of this claim to the new owner is named
the Assignment of the Deed of Rights. In this Deed as it stands presently, it
states that the new owner takes on ALL the rights and responsibilities of the
previous owner and their claim. What it doesn’t say is that the insurance policy
may override this and not allow the new owner full rights as the existing owner
had. From experience it appears that at no time does the real estate agent or
the lawyer pass on this knowledge to the new homeowner who expects to be
covered for ALL the damage incurred OR a rebuild if a decision were to go that
way. We believe that lawyers and agents don’t do this because they don’t know
Recently it seems that the insurers were briefed by someone (we haven’t been
able to find out who) that insurers have not been interpreting this part of the
policy correctly and actually do not have to pay out full costs of a house that is
deemed to be a rebuild if a property is sold and that only indemnity value would
apply. One justification we have been given for this is to mitigate against people
seeing this as a business opportunity.
In summary, if you sell a property before the repairs are incomplete and it turns
into a rebuild ie not repairable, then the new owner will only get indemnity value
on their property.
Prioritisation of repair/rebuilds
People with identified vulnerabilities will be first in the priority list AFTER they
have reached the point of settlement ie. IAG has all the necessary information to
be able to settle the claim. Settlement offers in the red zone are the first priority
due to their time constraints. Those who have uninhabitable homes will be the
next priority and then other vulnerability factors such as age, health, etc will be
prioritized. IAG consider this the fairest way to work to address highest need first
rather than working on an area basis.
Rebuild to repair – changes to assessments
IAG stand firm that they are within their policy to use the most current guidelines
to assess damage. Because they work from the assumption that the land has
been fixed, IAG apply the tolerances for foundation damage as set out in the
Department of Building and Housing TC1 and 2 Guidelines. (Some other insurers
have decided not to reassess homes in the red zone under these new tolerances
so there have been less incidents of houses having a lower damage assessment
which in some cases has resulted in homes being recommended for repair
instead the prior recommendation of rebuild).
IAG wanted it pointed out that the scope of works is not a settlement offer so can
be changed. However, if after people have received an OFFER they are unhappy
with it on the basis that the offer does not reflect the perceived damage of the
house, homeowners can ask for a red zone review. IAG will re-look at all of the
documentation and assess claims of damage missing from the scope. If after
reassessment, the settlement was assessed as being lower, IAG will honour the
original higher offer. However, if the settlement offer increased, IAG will settle at
the new and higher amount.
If you would like to know more about this, contact your case manager and
enquire about a red zone review and be sure to be clear about your individual
time frame in relation to when you must accept a government offer.
IAG has offered to work with a small group in one of our red zone communities
to look at the individual cases of homeowners who believe they have gone
from a rebuild to a repair settlement. We are following up on this and if it
proves successful we will make sure other red zone communities also have the
opportunity to work one on one with IAG.
Arrow International Meeting – 4 May 2012
The purpose of this meeting was to view and understand the maps that Southern Response and Arrow International use
to plan their work programmes. The discussion went from there to prioritisation and communicating with homeowners.
At this stage, some of the information regarding TC3 areas that is necessary to complete the risk profile maps is
still outstanding. This is information regarding flood zones (CCC responsibility) and land remediation options (EQC
responsibility). This means that full settlement and repair strategies for houses in these areas which require this
information cannot rely on the maps entirely. Certainly there has been some confusion as to why some TC3 properties
have begun work and others appear to be ‘on hold’. It is the required information that is missing that is causing the delay.
Added to this is the status of the claim as it relates to the EQC/insurer liability (apportionment and assessment issues).
Essentially the maps provide a more specific understanding of the land quality based on criteria which includes land
condition, lateral spread58, proximity to water/wetlands, flood plain levels and possible land remediation measures.
Overlaying this information are the individual claims – the status of the claim and other site specific information such.
Together, this information allows Arrow to see where there are obvious areas to begin work based on the fact that all of
the necessary information has been collected and the customer has made their settlement election and are signed off as
settled and ready to begin the repair/rebuild process. It is in essence a coordination tool which allows Southern Response
and Arrow to visualise where the claims are – both out of scope and over cap and identifies gaps and clusters of obvious
areas for coordinated work to proceed.
Based on the fact that work on a house can only begin when all of the necessary information has been gathered AND
EQC has signed off the claim ie – resolution of liability has been reached, Arrow’s work programme will generally start
with the presently low risk and simple properties (ie. one quake damage only). There are less information needs for TC1
and TC2 because there generally won’t be land remediation implications or geotechnical assessments needed. However,
there is not a blanket hold on progressing TC3 claims. As Southern Response customers will be aware, each customer is
allocated to a pod of which there are 8 across Canterbury. These pods each use the maps to plan and prioritise the work
programme within their area. This means that some TC3 homeowners will have their repair/rebuild started before others
depending on the geographic make-up of the pod’s area. It stands to reason that if one pod is essentially made up of TC3
properties and another with mainly TC2, some TC3 homeowners will have their work beginning earlier than others.
Customer plight ie. the individual circumstances of the family such as age and health issues that make them more
vulnerable than others, is to a certain extent factored into prioritisation. However, these circumstances can only be taken
into account after all other aspects of the claim have fallen into place ie. all necessary information gathered and EQC sign
off of the claim.
The Port Hills
There are other factors to take into account when looking at the Port Hills. After speaking to a pod leader, it became
apparent that EQC had not put a process in place to share retaining wall information with the appropriate Project
Management staff. Since this meeting, EQC, Southern Response and Arrow have now put a process in place so we
should now begin to see movement in this area.
There is ‘good’ TC3 land and ‘bad’ TC3 land and as we are aware, there are properties within the TC3 zones which
after further geotechnical investigation will be found to be more equivalent to TC1 and TC2. Although Arrow will use the
data gathered from EQC’s drilling programme, their work programme will not be determined by EQC’s as they are also
progressing with their own geotechnical assessments. Every property with foundation damage will have a geotechnical
assessment. Again, this work is beginning in those areas where the other necessary information has already been
gathered, the customer has made their settlement election and there are signs that the land is less compromised. It is
likely that work will begin in this area earlier than areas which are more compromised.
Should I get my own geotech assessment?
Homeowners can get their own geotechnical assessments and if Arrow can use the information ie. the assessment
gives them all the necessary information needed to progress the repair/rebuild strategy and gain building consents, the
cost of the assessment will be covered. However, if the assessment does not provide the necessary data or the claim
still relies on outstanding information from external sources, the costs of the assessment may or may not be covered
and will be negotiated on a case by case basis. Those who are in the ‘bad’ TC3 areas may be best not to employ their
own geotechnical assessment. It’s recommended that you discuss this with the project manager before you make that
Recognising there are some homeowners who are fearful they may have to wait years for a geotechnical assessment to
be completed on their property only to be told that the land is uneconomic to rebuild on, we discussed the possibility of
completing earlier assessments on those properties so the homeowners can know earlier what their options may be. This
concept has now been floated and will need more discussion about whether or not this is possible.
The final discussion we had was about how to communicate time frames to homeowners. In 2011, the Waimakariri
District Council established a communication process (before land zoning) which identified areas where area wide land
remediation was expected to begin within a 1, 2, 3 and 4 year period. Although it was distressing for those residents who
heard that work wouldn’t begin until 2014, most were appreciative of having some indication so they could make plans
for their future. CanCERN is hearing from some residents that they would be prepared to wait for their repair/rebuild as
long as they have some indication of when that is predicted to happen so it may be that following a similar model may be
useful. Southern Response and Arrow are confident that in the near future they will have a clearer idea of where work is
predicted to start. Of course everything is subject to change and there will always be exceptions to the rule.
Communicating time frames is obviously something insurers are cautious about because much of their ability to progress
claims relies on external factors. However, I got the sense that Southern Response and Arrow were keen to look more
closely about how to start communicating time frames based on the information they currently have. We will continue to
work with them in this area.
Overall, it was another open and positive meeting. The news for quick progress is not necessarily good and the issues of
information sharing between the organisations that are responsible for the different aspects of claim settlement have once
again been highlighted as a major reason for delay. This is a leadership issue which CanCERN will continue to highlight
so that the residential recovery can be better coordinated.
Worldtimes/************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Still no response to our letter from CERA! Apparently someone has been put in place to have over-site of the housing issues in Canterbury. Apparently that person is meant to be collating information and coming up with a plan. This is all ‘apparently’ because everyone is just catching bits of the grapevine rather than being told officially. Apparently the response to our letter has been across the table for signing a few times now but keeps being sent back because it does not answer the questions well enough. Apparently there is no housing crisis. Obviously there is a communication crisis!/************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>