Earthquake Commission Chief Executive Sid Miller today thanked the Claimant Reference Group (CRG) for its advocacy of the interests of claimants as they negotiate EQC claims management processes.
The CRG was established in October 2018 and has worked with EQC to provide feedback and advice about key issues and workstreams in order to improve the claims settlement process for claimants.
CRG’s seven members were invited to participate based on their expertise, previous advocacy for claimants and because they represented a range of interests from the Canterbury community.
“There is no doubt EQC, as well as claimants, have benefitted from the range of expertise and experience on the Claimant Reference Group,” says Mr Miller.
“Our discussions have at times been robust but always honest, and we have not always agreed, but EQC has taken on board Claimant Reference Group advice and made changes to a range of work processes, including staff training, damage assessment processes and the On-solds programme.”
“CRG can in part take credit for EQC’s success in improving customer experience feedback scores to over 75%. These changes for the benefit of claimants will continue to inform our processes as we continue with our focus on resolving outstanding Canterbury earthquake claims and future claims.”
Mr Miller says EQC has a better appreciation of the value reference groups can provide across the broad range of EQC roles and responsibilities.
“As such, we are well advanced in the establishment of a national reference group to provide representative community input across a range of sectors to support EQC in dealing with future national hazard events, wherever they may occur. This was also a recommendation from the Public Inquiry into EQC.”
While the Claimant Reference Group meets for the final time on 30 November, Mr Miller emphasised that the “voice of Canterbury claimants” will continue to be heard and advocated for through the Home Owners Advisory Group (HOAG) which supports the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS).
Chair Tom McBrearty says that HOAG considers all aspects of the claims process and advocates for the Canterbury claimant, not just in relation to EQC but also in relation to broader elements such as private engineering and insurance companies.
“The opportunity for EQC-specific agenda items within the HOAG agenda ensures CRG’s momentum around an improved claimant experience will not be lost.
“All members of the CRG are also HOAG members so this is an opportunity to retain these perspectives and knowledge to deliver a better result for claimants both now and into the future”.
“On behalf of the EQC Board, EQC staff, and Canterbury claimants, I’d like to thank and commend the Claimant Reference Group members, Chair Ali Jones, Tom McBrearty, Dean Lester, David Townshend, Linda Ngata, Pip Moore and Jo Petrie, for their courage and their commitment,” said Mr Miller.