Press Release – WeCan
WeCan! the Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network today called for an independent Advocacy Commission with the powers to act on behalf of residents at the mercy of the Insurance companies and CERA. “There is a need to address the imbalance of power … Call for an Independent Advocacy Commission
Insurance Companies Respond to Survey
WeCan! the Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network today called for an independent Advocacy Commission with the powers to act on behalf of residents at the mercy of the Insurance companies and CERA. “There is a need to address the imbalance of power between the householder and the big corporates and government agencies – we are being taken to the cleaners – its time for some transparency, honesty and accountability.” says WeCan! spokesperson Rev Mike Coleman.
WeCan! today published the responses of the main Insurance companies to eight questions that affect the costing of repairs. Coleman says, “It is evident that there are significant differences between companies, and between what they say at head office and what they do on the ground.”
“We made it clear in our letter that we intended to publish the results ‘to assist our members in the settlement of their insurance claims and to make informed choices when selecting their long-term provider of choice for home insurance.’ At present people in greater Christchurch are locked into their current provider, but the day will come when that will change and householders will remember their experience and that of their neighbours and vote with their feet.”
The survey highlights a big difference between AMI and the other providers regarding the disclosure of itemised costings. AMI refuses to disclose these rates and costs and only releases the global figure in offers to red zone residents. “This makes it almost impossible to challenge these figures, even with an independent Quantity Surveyor’s assessment. We believe that AMI is failing its contractual obligation to act in good faith with its clients in taking this stance.”
The survey also reveals that there is no safe way yet to replace ring foundations and re-pile a home in situ with the home jacked up. Yet many insurance costings are not allowing for homes to be lifted, moved and stored while this work is undertaken.
Recent changes to the building guidelines in the different zones means that existing cost schedules are now unlikely to fully account for the cost of compliance. This has been acknowledged by AMI in it’s response. It is also clear from the survey that there is yet no agreed means to reconcile big differences between EQC and Insurance company assessments of costs.
“One of our members in the orange zone was verbally given two figures for the repairs to their house – a ‘red zone figure’ and then a ‘green zone figure’ which was substantially higher. We are firmly of the belief that insurance offers based on repairs to red zone homes are well under what it will actually cost insurance companies to repair those homes if they were zoned green. This is a deliberate ploy to get householders to accept the CERA offer for their home.” says Coleman.
WeCan! is organising a ‘Show your Colour Crusade’ at 2pm on Saturday 19 November at Cranmer Square to press for an independent Advocacy Commission. “Not only to hold insurance companies to account but also the government, CERA and agencies like EQC and Fletchers. Enough is enough”, says Coleman.