World-first research into insurance industry's quake response

Senior lecturer at Massey University Michael Naylor is launching extensive research into the insurance industry's ...
GEORGINA STYLIANOU/FAIRFAX NZ

Senior lecturer at Massey University Michael Naylor is launching extensive research into the insurance industry's response to the Canterbury earthquakes.

A world-first research project into the insurance industry's response to the Canterbury earthquakes will be a "global resource" for years to come, the man behind it says.

The Massey University-funded research will canvass the views of thousands of Cantabrians, asking them about their experiences with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and private insurers since the earthquakes. 

The intention is to collate video interviews and survey responses from homeowners, commercial property owners and insurance industry workers into an online resource.

Massey University senior lecturer Dr Michael Naylor, who is leading the research, said nobody had asked the city about its collective insurance experience. 

He said there were lessons to learn from the region's quakes that would help shape the insurance industry, domestically and internationally. 

"This is the chance for people to answer detailed questions about their experiences, properly and in depth," he said.

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Survey participants would be asked a series of questions about their claims process – from lodging their claim and how many assessors they had to how they felt disputes were managed.

He hoped the findings would lead to change, particularly when it came to helping insurers manage a claims queue with the potential to overwhelm their resources, Naylor said. 

He emphasised the importance of people with good insurance experiences participating.

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"Because of the emotion involved in the claim process, we think that the main risk to the credibility of our research will be a very high response rate from those who were unhappy with their insurer, and a low response rate from those who had a relatively neutral or even good experience.

"If we expect the insurance industry to take this research seriously we must get a balanced response, and that means hearing about the good as well as the bad."

He hoped more than 50,000 Cantabrians would complete the survey.

Flyers would be dropped in people's letterboxes on Saturday. The survey can be accessed here or via the Christchurch Quake Survey Facebook page. 

 - Stuff

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