Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal Bill passes third reading

Another pathway to resolve insurance claims relating to the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes will soon be available to homeowners in the region, as the Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal Bill has passed its third reading in the House, says Justice Minister Andrew Little.

“The Bill establishes the Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal, which will provide those homeowners who have long-outstanding insurance claims – including those with Southern Response and the Earthquake Commission – with a fair, speedy, flexible and cost-effective way to help resolve their claims and move on with their lives.

“It is expected that the Tribunal will be up and running in mid-June.

“The Tribunal will be homeowner-led and will be able to tailor its approach to the needs of each case. Referral to an independent, funded mediation service will be one of the options available for resolving claims without the need for a formal hearing.

“I’d like to thank everyone who submitted on the Bill for their valuable feedback. I’d also like to thank the Governance and Administration Committee for its thorough work examining the Bill through the select committee stage. I believe the changes recommended by the Committee improved the Bill. One of the key changes is to extend the date range for the Canterbury earthquakes to 31 December 2011 so those who suffered damage in the 23 December 2011 earthquake are also eligible to apply to the Tribunal.

“The Tribunal will now also be able to consider liability for earthquake damage that occurred after 2011 providing the initial damage occurred earlier. It means parties won’t have to go through a separate process to resolve damage from earthquakes after 2011.

“The Tribunal will have the ability to award general damages and costs, and to appoint independent expert advisers to help the Tribunal understand the technical aspects of a claim. There will be no fee to access the Tribunal, and homeowners will not need a lawyer to access it.

The Tribunal will complement existing dispute resolution processes, including the Greater Canterbury Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS). The Government set up the GCCRS in October last year to provide a free, impartial ‘one stop shop’ service to help fast-track outstanding residential insurance claims,” says Mr Little.

Further information on the Tribunal, including FAQs and how to bring a claim to the Tribunal, can be found on the Ministry of Justice website https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/key-initiatives/resolving-canterbury-earthquakes-insurance-claims/