C'mon EQC, explain apportionment No. 2

WILL HARVIE
Last updated 10:46 20/05/2012

emsonEQC responded to last week's post, C'mon EQC explain apportionment, with a Facebook post by Customer Services GM Bruce Emson.

Thanks for the info, Bruce. It's a good start. Keep going.

Many of the people that commented on my previous blog and on Facebook told stories of pain, confusion and mismanagement, and it's clear that 525 words on a social networking website isn't enough.

EQC should host community meetings on apportionment (and other topics). Get 500 people in a room and explain in granular detail what's going on. For example, according to Bruce, the most practical way to apportion unassessed damage is "to look at what happened in the houses around your one, and what proportions of damage they suffered".

OK, how wide is this net? Homes on my short Mount Pleasant lane suffered miniscule damage before Feb 22 (in my case, a cracked patio that isn't insured by EQC). Now, almost solely because of February 22, at least two homes on the street are potentially heading for demolition, at least four are caught in apportionment, one is reportedly uninsured, and one is already repaired by Fletcher (lucky sods).

Seems to me that EQC should apportion the whole lane at the same time (next week is good), but EQC's call centre told my wife last week that a neighbourhood approach isn't being used. This true? How are priorities set - alphabetically, easy first/hard later, foundation category? (Mount Pleasant's foundation category is grey by the way.)

On the other hand, tell me please that the already-repaired neighbour will be apportioned, ohh, next February and that the folks out in Harewood will be apportioned next March.

If workshops don't appeal, EQC could use video. Check out Dr Jan Kupec updating orange-zoned Southshore residents in an 8min30sec video posted May 15 (thanks CERA). The video, by the way, is a recap of a CERA meeting held for Southshore residents in April, so CERA managed a meeting and a video.

The Earthquake Commission's last activity on its YouTube channel was October 2010,  when Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee  explained "what happened in the September 4th earthquake".

It's never too late for EQC to follow it's more nimble cousins. Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt popped up in The Press this week to explain he's hiring staff to process the threefold increase in planning applications that are expected in coming years.   Council also has Mayor Bob and 13 councillors explaining and responding, CERA has Roger Sutton, Dr Kupec and others, central government has Brownlee, sometimes the Prime Minister and other ministers when their portfolios allow. EQC's public face is ... a call centre.

Here's why this information matters. Bruce Emson's Facebook post includes this statement: "Any process we develop has to meet with agreement from the other parties financially involved - the insurers and the reinsurers." Hold on, I'm financially involved, and so is Angela Hamilton and every other apportioned customer. My financial share is about $112,000 and perhaps more. This is bread molecules to EQC, but a whacking great amount to me. C'mon EQC communicate.

- The Press

50 comments
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Carol Williams   #1   10:51 am May 20 2012

OMG. For goodness sake stop the moaning, appreciate life and get on with it. Take a leaf out of Mr Brownlee's example.

Bruce   #2   11:10 am May 20 2012

I tend to agree that it is lack of communication which is doing all the damage at the momnent. That and a piecemeal approach to the situation. Some of us are getting on (and no one is getting younger) but the only input thus far is to put your life on hold for many years to come. A few breadcrumbs of relevant information(and our money) would be welcome.

@Carol Williams   #3   11:12 am May 20 2012

WHAT can you mean..."take a leaf out of Mr Brownlee's example" just buy another house, ignore the blindingly obvious all around you and build a stadium? Is that what you mean? Silly us, why didn't we all think of that rather than sitting here freezing in our wrecked houses for 21 months waiting for EQC, CERA and insurers to sort things out and give us the answers we need to move forward.

loulou   #4   11:21 am May 20 2012

That's the whole point Carol #1 - many people "can't get on with it". Many people are at the point of losing their homes because they can no longer afford to pay rent and a mortgage on ther damaged property; properties many (like myself) saved years to be able to build - only to be lost because of inept Insurance Companies/EQC and Govt bureaucracy. We've finally be zoned green, but are now at the bottom of a very long list that'll take years to get through for repairs. We can only afford another 3 months of morgage payments before we're 'spent'. I guess the bright side is (for the bank) that the house can now be sold off as a mortgagee sale, as we're finally green zoned.

Anne   #5   11:26 am May 20 2012

Carol Williams We are all sick of people like you telling us to get on with our lives. We'd love to be able to do that. Obviously you are not caught in this predicament.

As for bringing Mr Brownlee into it..words fail me. Mr Brownlee like you, has no concept of how people are suffering, because he has enough money to featherbed his life. Most of us don't.

LT   #6   11:33 am May 20 2012

OMG Carol Williams. Are you living in Christchurch? These issues are very real and the stress is affecting people's health. You clearly don't have any grasp of this issue at all. Get on with it? We'd love to. Mr Will Harvie, please keep the spotlight on this, it's massively appreciated.

J. W.   #7   11:46 am May 20 2012

It is time to stop blaming the government, EQC, our great mayor, our head of Cera and insurance companies etcetera. How about taking a little more responsibility for ourselves and appreciating the wonderful job Mr Key and Mr Brownlee are doing. This small, vocal minority gets far too much publicity and people like this Blogger on about it yet again, should learn to be grateful for life and start to live it. In case some did not notice, Christchurch moved into blue seats from red in several electorates last year. Thankfully most Cantabrians know how to get on with things (today it is beautiful and sunny and last night the Crusaders took it to the Blues by 50 points). Count your blessings Will Harvie and others.

Mark   #8   11:52 am May 20 2012

Perhaps one thing which could be done is to completely forget about "apportionment" for AMI / Southern Response customers. Apportionment is about dividing costs between multiple claims as a result of the High Court ruling. If EQC apportionment decision is disputed by the insurer, then there's a problem - not the least of which is that if the Insurers/Reinsurers see that this is happening, they have the trump cards and have threatened to use them - withdrawing EQ insurance cover for all of NZ. This is one reason why EQC are so slow and indecisive. In the case of both AMI/Southern response and EQC, reserves and reinsurance is "used up", so how "apportionment" determines the split between EQC and Southern Response is essentially irrelevant - the Govt has to pay regardless. I understand that AMI had 40% or so of the Christchurch residential market - they could eliminate 40% of the backlog immediately.

Ella   #9   12:01 pm May 20 2012

This article is very good. It talks about the delays and delays and delays that people are facing. Lives on hold and people feeling powerless. Information and money are withheld from them - and let's not forget that this information is about their homes, and the money is their entitlement as insurance paying home owners! Information is vital. We had an issue with apportionment that threatened to tip our whole rebuild process over and stick it instead in an insurance/EQC legal spiral that could have taken months if not years to resolve. EQC didn't tell us about an "over payment" that was a result of them reapportioning damage. Telling us would have been - and I quote directly - "confusing and distressing". Instead they let us find out weeks later through our insurance company. And when we rang threatened to take money directly out of our bank account - and said they would have done this without telling us!! Come on - people are not whinging - they are trying to take control of their lives and get what they need and they are entitled too!!

coffee addict   #10   12:20 pm May 20 2012

Nice blog Will, keep it up. @Carol Williams - I am not even going to use my precious time and energy to respond to you.

I agree that communication is the key here. It doesn't have to be every little detail of how the process occurs, but an overall view of how they are doing it and that multiple methods are being used on case by case basis, and that each one takes several hours. Also how they are tackling it (street by street sounds better as then one person really gets to know that area and each subsequent apportionment should in theory get quicker).

A recent article in The Press talked about people needing some level of certainty to get on with their lives and to alleviate stress. EQC and others seem determined NOT to provide any kind of certainty. It's not just the How that needs to be communicated but the approximate timeframe and what the stages are in the process (with a You Are Here indicator).

I, and I am sure many others, would be OK with waiting for several years if we knew the approximate timeframes that things would happen for us. We could then make plans instead of being stuck static and powerless.

Most people like forward momentum in life and plan renovations/decorating/gardens. Most of us here in Chch don't even have that luxury. We could live easier with today if we were able to plan a little for tomorrow.

The lack of communication leads not only to stress but to a belief that EQC and co are just ripping us all off. The conspiracy theories abound unchecked.

Mr Emson has, in my view, completely failed to improve or even understand any of these customer outcomes and satisfaction levels. No wonder he is referred to as EQC's General Manager of Customer Dis-service.


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