More EQC staff for workload
Claims lodged top 2200-markKAT PICKFORD AND IAN ALLEN
Earthquake assessors will begin ramping up their presence in the worst hit areas of Marlborough this week, following the damaging 6.6 magnitude quake that rocked the region on August 16.
Earthquake Commission customer services general manager Bruce Emson said more than 2200 claims have been lodged from Marlborough since the damaging quakes began on July 19.
EQC have set up a temporary office next to the Awatere Community Information Centre in Seddon to investigate further claims this week.
Commission chief executive Ian Simpson is visiting the region today.
EQC estimator Nev Walker and assessor Steven Mann visited Kevin Dobbs' property in Ward on Friday to determine the extent of its earthquake damage.
Mr Dobbs said he was happy with how soon after the Grassmere earthquake his property had been assessed.
His sister in Christchurch was still dealing with EQC, he said.
Most of the damage to his property was to the house's brick cladding. "It's only superficial . . . a few bricks have popped out."
Most of the mess was inside the house, such as his wife's broken crystal.
Mr Mann said visiting people in Seddon had been a great experience.
People were friendly and happy to see EQC staff, he said.
Mr Emson said EQC assessors began working in Blenheim and Ward last week to honour appointments arranged before the August 16 quake.
However, they have since reorganised to have five of the six South Island teams in Seddon this week, he said.
"EQC claims are assessed and settled on the basis of their progress through the settlement process wherever they come from, but . . . we are prioritising the most affected area, which is Seddon."
People could make emergency repairs to make their home safe, secure and sanitary at their own cost, he said.
However, they should first make sure they were covered by EQC and take photographs of the damage before, during and after the repairs. It was also important for people to keep all receipts and invoices so it could be included in their claim settlement if approved.
EQC was handling assessments for the Cook Strait and Grassmere quakes differently to Christchurch, including cash settlements for approved claims.
He downplayed suggestions made by Christchurch people on the Express Facebook page and website marlexpress.co.nz that EQC was not paying out full and fair amounts for repairs.
"EQC has a very robust pricing system that takes into account current trade prices and EQC stands by that," he said.
One comment posted by ARF52 said: "Our insurance company said [repairs would cost] $389,000, EQC said $45,000. Be very careful because they are going to cash settle you guys in Marlborough. Get independent advice before you sign anything."
- © Fairfax NZ News