Insurance advocacy service may start soon

SAM SACHDEVA
Last updated 14:23 30/10/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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An advocacy service to help earthquake-hit Cantabrians deal with their insurers may start soon, a city councillor says.

However, officials behind the service are staying tight-lipped.

The proposed service could help residents battling for information about when, or if, their homes will be repaired.

The Christchurch City Council this year voted unanimously to ask Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to urgently set up an insurance tribunal and advocacy service based in Christchurch.

In August, insurance company representatives said they were working on plans for an advisory or advocacy-type service that could help residents.

Cr Glenn Livingstone, who led the call for assistance, said he had been told that the service could start within a fortnight.

He said residents had concerns about whether the process would be independent, given that insurers were helping to set it up.

''The fact that it's being driven by the private insurers rather than the people themselves, that is an area of some concern.''

He said the service should deal with ''clusters'' of issues that could help thousands of residents, rather than on a case-by-case basis.

''Issues like TC3, the whole repair-rebuild issue and time frames - these are the issues that will pertain to several thousand people at a time, not just, 'Here's the policy and here's the fine print'.''

IAG spokesman Phil Barclay referred The Press to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority for comment on the possible launch of the service, saying it was leading the process.

An authority spokesman said he was ''afraid we cannot make any comment'' on when or if a service would be unveiled.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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