Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Claim? What claim?!

Just when we thought we were making progress on our September insurance claim after several weeks of inactivity, EQC made a surprise re-appearance in our lives. We received a letter to our broken home address which started, "We confirm receipt of the claim you recently lodged with EQC. We have asked a loss adjuster to call and inspect the damage to your property and report back to the Commission..."

Um... WTF? What claim??
As far as we knew, we had no need to go through the whole EQC process again as our house was a write-off in September and we'd already received the maximum payout available. It was well publicised after the Feb quake that EQC inspectors were conducting rapid assessments of every house in the Christchurch city area, to prioritise those houses that were severely damaged. Fair enough too, there were far more that needed attention this time round, but we never saw any documentation to say that our house had been visited (we had a form left in the letterbox of our current residence). So this letter was a complete surprise to both of us.

When I rang the 0800 number, the pre-recorded message did nothing to alleviate my concerns as it gently intoned that "if your house has sustained new damage as a result of the February quake, or existing damage has worsened, then you must make a claim with EQC"... oh crap... surely not? I explained my plight to the EQC call-centre person who went off to check with their supervisor. After assuring them that I most certainly did not lodge the claim and had absolutely no intention of doing so, they told me it would have been automatically generated by the data entry team following the rapid assessment. Mission accomplished - claim cancelled. I know not everyone's dealings with EQC have been resolved as quickly and easily... here's a Campbell Live item from April 6th on EQC frustrations.

And then this morning at 8am we received a phone call from Fletchers (the EQC-contracted building company) asking us if we wanted any emergency repairs done to our dwelling. I don't think she was expecting me to laugh in response, but I explained that our house had been munted since September and was due to be demolished which meant there wasn't really much point in repairing anything. This phone call had also been generated by the EQC rapid assessment process... well, the assessment may have been rapid but the wheels grind slowly. It's been two months since the massive aftershock that munted large parts of the city - I'm glad I wasn't waiting on them to do anything crucial.

Fingers crossed we'll be hearing about demolition plans soon and then maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to start planning our new home. It's hard to focus on the future when the mundanities of life - dealing with insurance, shakey ground and a munted city - are so all-consuming.

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