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The Claimants Reference Group (CRG), established from the recommendations from the Stevenson Report, is welcoming the announcement today of a Commission of Inquiry into The Earthquake Commission.
CRG Chair, Tom McBrearty, says he is pleased that there has been timeframe set down to report its findings and recommendation by June 2019.
“Despite hearing a number of people today talk in the past tense when it comes to dealing with EQC, thousands are still stuck in the Earthquake Commission nightmare,” he says. “To have a timeframe communicated clearly today I believe will be welcomes by those still dealing with their claims as well as the tens of thousands having been through the mill already.”
McBrearty adds it is positive the inquiry is focused on future process and behaviour which will hopefully lead to a much better claimant environment. It is also positive that the inquiry will be completely independent and headed by someone as experienced and credible as Dame Silvia Cartwright.
“That will give a great deal of confidence at a time when that confidence has been regularly tested and dented,” he says. “Dame Silvia has sought truth and justice several times before and we are very pleased she will do the same again on this inquiry.”
Mr McBrearty says he also welcomes the inclusion of a focus on the handling of insurance claims by EQC and, as appropriate, other insurers following the Canterbury quakes.
“We are all aware of some less than stellar behaviour from private insurers and I’m pleased they too will be a part of this inquiry. The bottom line is there needs to be some review of what has created the problems, some accountability for that and importantly, what needs to be done to ensure others do not have to go through the terrible time so many Cantabrians have experienced post-quake as far as their insurance claims and dealing with EQC are concerned,” he says.
The Claimants Reference Group has met twice since it was established in September this year and is made up of the following members:
Tom McBrearty – Chair on EQC CRG – WeCan and advocate
Dean Lester – Insurance expert and advocate
David Townshend – Homeowner and insurance advocate
Linda Ngata – Te Rūnanga o Ngā Maata Waka and advocate
Mel Bourke – EQCFix and homeowner
John Patterson – Older Generations Forum rep, homeowner and insurance advocate
Jo Petrie – Te Rarawa and Ngāti Kurī
Philippa Moore - Homeowner
Ali Jones – Insurance advocate and homeowner
The CRG group is working with EQC to support and advise the organisation, from a claimants perspective, how to address and improve performance to ensure timely, fair and clear outcomes for claimants, as per the EQC Act and insurance policies.