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Labour to set up ‘earthquake court’

Written By: - Date published: 10:10 am, June 9th, 2014 - 86 comments
Categories: Politics - Tags:

There’s some good policy coming from Labour this morning to help speed up the Christchurch earthquake insurance claims and also to provide residents relief from the continual surface flooding.

As reported on RNZ:

audio

Details can be found from Labour’s website:

  • An Earthquake Court – a special division of the Canterbury District Court – will deal with insurance claims of up to $1 million.
  • For people affected by flooding after the quakes, in government Labour will immediately start urgent work on quake-affected, flood-vulnerable homes.
  • Amend the law as needed to make it clear that EQC must pay for earthquake damage in the form of land subsidence or other geological changes, and employ army engineers to help with the protection work.

Policy like this and the recent ACE night school one are good foundations for Labour, practical solutions for real problems that National refuses to even acknowledge.

86 comments on “Labour to set up ‘earthquake court’”

  1. vto 1

    That is long overdue.

    The government abandoned the people to deal with these ugly bastards and bitches inside the insurance companies. They have been pushed an shoved and bullshitted and delayed and on it goes for over 3 years now.

    The National Party government’s attention to this plight has been utterly disgraceful. The insurance companies have rode roughshod over everyone, including the elderly, the poor, the disadvantaged, pretty much everyone.

    You know we have been quite capable of looking after ourselves but the bullshit we had to deal with. The lies and crap excuses that the insurance companies kept coming up with. The only way we got through in the end was by making it intensely personal to the personnel at the insurer (read whatever you like into that). Some good healthy lifelong enemies have been made through it – and will be savoured for the rest of our days – and certainly not let drop everytime those personnel flip onto out radar under some other circumstance … sad eh … but tough fucking luck

    The government should have front-footed this from the start. They made a deliberate decision to not do so.

    This vile government needs to thrown from office for the utter misery these sorts of decisions have caused to people’s live …. continuing right now today.

  2. Craig Glen Eden 2

    You cant think for your self BM? Obviously not. Home owners need help in bringing the EQC and Insurance companines into line what other insentive do they have to settle. While the court process can be drawn out a court that is set up to soley deal with these issues would have to help.I think only National and ACT members would be-grudge these people being able to move on with their lives.

    • BM 2.1

      I like to read different points of view, Geoff says it’s great, DPF says it’s bollocks.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        Clearly David Farrar didn’t bother reading the speech and published bits of the detailed policy before writing that bit of crap. I saw it in the “Parties” feed while I was waiting for the physio this morning and went to the linked material. The things that clearly puzzled him are explained in the link. I suspect he just read a summarised press statement.

        Basically David Farrar is acting like pig-ignorant fool without bothering to read and ponder. Sort of a Mike Hosking of the blogosphere… Deliberately being a greedy stupid numbskull.

        Perhaps you should ask your friends and family down there what they think about the progress towards settlements. God knows I get an earful from mine whenever I am down there.

      • redfred 2.1.2

        You know he actually works for the national party? The current National government is screwing Canterbury by decreasing the amount available to rebuild Christchurch so they can claim a false surplus in the budget.
        If you want to swallow his shit, fine, go down to Christchurch and spout his/your shit and see how long you last moron

  3. vto 3

    There is one simple thing that would help expedite all this – a cost of money payment backdated to the date of the earthquake/s to compensate for the time lost.

    I understand the Queensland Government enacted legislation after the Queensland floods in order to “encourage” insurance companies to deal with claims quick-fast. It was something like some sort of penalty if they were not resolved within a certain timeframe.

    Something could have and should have been done here. A decision was made to do nothing.

    The deliberate decision by the Key government to do NOTHING to promote the rapid settlement of claims is a dirty blight on them.

    • Tracey 3.1

      and this policy is designed, imo, to highlight the do nothing inaction of the nats

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2

      vto, the Queensland floods ( and other major floods in Australia led to changes by the Commonwealth in the standard definition of floods ( yes the insurance companies had many weasel words relating to flood, a bit like Eskimoes words for snow).

      Relating to claims made to insurance companies the following changes were made:

      “These areas include:

      The documentation to be provided to insureds on declinature
      The explanations to be provided to insureds during internal dispute processes
      The information to be provided to insureds in relation to claims processes
      That time frames be set regarding the determination of claims as a result of a natural disaster (noting that the Insurance Council of Australia has already recommended the Insurance Industry Code of Practice be changed for determinations to be made within four months, except in exceptional circumstances)
      That time frames be set regarding communications with insureds as to the progress of their claims during natural disasters, again necessitating amendments to the General Insurance Code of Practice.

      These are all good practices that should occour in NZ, if they dont all ready.
      http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/166484/Insurance/Queensland+Floods+Insurance+Under+the+Microscope

      One interesting outcome of Commission of Inquiry into the handling of Insurance claims, was that ” end of 2014, all home building insurance policies must have a sum insured that is set at full replacement cover in the event of a total loss”

  4. Tom Gould 4

    Interesting the Insurance Council has bashed out a convenient media release crowing about how they have paid out $70m in disaster claims this year. But they never say how much they got in premiums? I guess three times as much and the profits winging their way to Sydney might look embarrassing?

    • Tracey 4.1

      and they never say how much the total claims were, on which they only paid 70 million… The percentage of claims paid at 100% and 90% and so on would be more informative.

    • RedBaronCV 4.2

      Far too low Tom. If it’s New Zealands domestic dwellings then it is around $1.7billion in premiums per annum.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    It would be a lot easier and simpler to extend the resources and scope of the insurance ombudsman. That is a process that insurance companies have signed up to. However, my understanding is they are overwhelmed at the moment.

    • Tracey 5.1

      and because they are overwelmed a court is put in place which MIGHT get rid of some cases because the cost to the insurance company to defend a case is much higher than to pay lawyers to just fuck around owners

    • lprent 5.2

      It would be a lot easier and simpler to extend the resources and scope of the insurance ombudsman.

      Groan.

      Since the insurers are the people levied to provide that service, it is hardly surprising that it is underfunded eh? They could have extended it any time over the last 4 years but it doesn’t seem to have happened. Can you see a possible reason why?

      As far as I can see, it just helps increase delays

      The insurers are also signed up to the court system via the contracts. What Labour is proposing is effectively streamlining that system for this particular backlog of many years into the future.

      http://www.iombudsman.org.nz/iso-scheme/iso-structure

      The Participants
      To be an eligible Participant of the ISO Scheme, a financial service provider must provide all or any of the services set out in the Constitution. A Participant can include its subsidiaries or related companies.

      Participants pay an annual levy to the ISO Commission, which is used to fund the ISO Scheme’s dispute resolution service for their customers.

      Or alternatively to provide a way of delaying the court cases while waiting for the ISO to do its mediation. What does this remind me of? Oh yeah, the years delay that almost bankrupted me while mediation was “attempted” on our leaky building.

      Just take it to the courts.

  6. Tracey 6

    Surely the important thing about the announcements is the message it sends…

    1. Labour gets that insurance companies have a deliberate strategy to delay and squeeze owners, make them employ lawyers, lose sleep, so the insurance scalpers can offer a well below the odds settlement, eventually. National knows it but has left owners to the vultures. Whether a specialised court works or not, the people of christchurch get that labour gets it
    2. National could have done this or something else to even the scales. But havent. Using its size and resources the govt could have sat harder on insurers or even legislated, you know, like they did for warner bros, rio tinto, foreign investors in scf NOT covered by the guarante, legislating away the obligation to make commercial buildings in chchch rebuild accessible to over 25% of the population.

    I think it sends a politically clever message..

    • tsmithfield 6.1

      We don’t need more lawyers involved, or a court process that could drag claims out for even longer.

      What is needed is a relatively simple process like the disputes tribunal or ombudsman process that enables claims to be sorted out quickly and at minimum cost or stress to the victims.

      Do the math on setting up a new court system. If there are several thousand claims, and each averages say three days hearing time, plus preparation time etc, then it is pissing into the wind. All it will do is take longer for claimants to get justice.

      • Tracey 6.1.1

        The insurance companies will try to game anything set up. A disputes tribunal for 1m bucks! I am thinking you have never used a disputes tribunal, they are simpkistic and usually do some bizarre solomons ruling. Also heard by low level barristers. If you think bringing in loads of barristers is a cheaper option…i think you also suppose too much additional infrastructure is required.

        The weathertight tribunal can now get through case in under a year…

        If there are still thousands of claims, what a failure for the owners already.

        • lprent 6.1.1.1

          Exactly. It is only the truly desperate whose property was built by under-insured builders and inspected by National’s fly-by-night building inspectors who use the weathertight tribunal. That is because while they will win in court, there is no-one to pay for the rebuild.

          Instead they try to shame the builders with the WTT

        • tsmithfield 6.1.1.2

          What we need is a quick efficient process. More legals doesn’t add up to that. The existing processes extended and given more teeth would be much better in actually bringing resolution for people in a timely manner.

          • Tracey 6.1.1.2.1

            not true. Specialist court streams are much faster than when all is lumped in together…

          • lprent 6.1.1.2.2

            Bullshit. All of the other processes appear to waste more time than they are worth.

            About the only tribunal I have ever seen actually working for the parties was the small claims court (really a quick binding mediation), and that was mostly because there wasn’t anything significiant going to court. But generally they take as long as or longer than the courts, have just as much legal advice, and in the end seldom come to a resolution that doesn’t proceed to the courts.

            Generally the courts system works best when they were separated and made specialist. For instance the youth court, family court, district court, and the various streams at the high court for things like leaky homes.

            • Tracey 6.1.1.2.2.1

              and at small claims… One speaks, the other speaks and then the barrister says some words and decides to split it down the middle

              • lprent

                Yeah. I have seen it go to one side or another. But it does seem to take large amount of bad faith on one side for that to happen.

                Last one I remember was a second hand laptop with a broken lid hinge that had been repaired with glue. It lasted long enough to get out of the shop.

                But, it is literally true – very few of the cases go on to further litigation 😈

  7. fisiani 7

    The only people to make money from this appalling policy will be lawyers who will no incentive to settle and will drag out cases ka-ching ka-ching. I expect Labour to drop another 1%.

    • KJT 7.1

      You think that is not happening already?

      Contrary to your bit of spin, A dedicated court will, at least, speed up the process so that less, not more, lawyers and assessors time and charges, is used.

      Not to mention the bloke I work with, who has had 14 assessors in his house, and no resolution from a procrastinating insurance company.

      The house is wrecked. He and his sick wife are living in Invercargill, away from their friends of a lifetime.

      Just last week his garage, with most of their stuff in it, was burgled.
      The insurance company would not pay out, because “no one was living” beside it in the wrecked house!

      Where the Queensland floods occurred, you can’t even tell now.

      In Lyttelton there is, one! New building.

      Meantime they are still paying rates and insurance, on a house that they cannot live in, and can expect to die of old age, before their house is rebuilt.

      Maybe that is the intention?

    • Tracey 7.2

      On that basis you advocate the ablition of our entire court system?

    • lprent 7.3

      You are a bit of an unthinking moron. Repeating David Farrar’s silly line (I wonder what fool in the 9th floor thought that one up?) just leaves you open to abuse.

      An abbreviated schedule running through the courts and where the state is penny-pinching the billed hours is no lawyers dream. Most of the civil lawyers involved won’t like it.

  8. MrSmith 8

    Before the Christchurch earthquakes we used to have a industry standard for insurance repairs, they used to roll out the red carpet when people suffered unexpected loss, thats what you have insurance for isn’t it, so you won’t be any worse off financially after a loss, Christchurch residents though have had that carpet pulled from under them for no good reason, except corporate greed.

    You will hear Christchurch people say “oh well some people are worse off than us”, or “we just want to get on with our life’s”, “we can’t fight any more.” The insurance industry need to be held to account in Christchurch and good on Labour for proposing to make it easier for the average joe to do just that, the size of the claim shouldn’t be an excuse to suddenly drop your standards, if the insurance industry can’t provide the same standard it was before the quake then the government needs to step in and make sure they are.

    The same applies to EQC the Earthquake Act clearly states repairs should be:
    (ii) replacing or reinstating the building to a condition
    substantially the same as but not better
    or more extensive than its condition when new,
    modified as necessary to comply with any applicable
    laws; and
    (iii) complying with any applicable laws in relation to
    the replacement or reinstatement of the building;

    EQC have NOT been working to these standards and will soon be held to account.

    • Tracey 8.1

      the people of christchurch should march to demand greater transparency from their insurance companies…

    • Chooky 8.2

      +100…it is unimaginable what some people in Christchurch have been through in the aftermath of the earthquakes…trauma …and then compounded trauma waiting in limbo…I have a friend who is writing a book on it ( it does your head in just trying to understand all the twisting and turning of insurance companies and all the perambulations and implications when factored in with EQC claims)

      Good on Labour for doing something about it! …the wait for resolutions to their housing will have killed some people and has created enormous stress for others

      • MrSmith 8.2.1

        There are still around 12000 repair to to be completed , 12000! ALL repairs to be finished before Xmas Fletchers recently informed me, (I suspect most of these will be in the worse affected areas) this figure won’t include cash settlements and it could possibly be for CHCH only as you can’t believe any statements that comes form EQC.
        It’s like there satisfaction survey that left out 31,000 that had complained WTF.
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/9369787/EQC-excludes-31-000-claimants-from-survey

        “Doubt has been thrown on Earthquake Commission (EQC) satisfaction results after the commission admitted 31,000 claimants were excluded from its surveys in the past three years.”

        December last year:
        “There are about 70,000 unsettled EQC claims – meaning those homeowners have yet to receive even an offer for repair or payout.”
        http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/anger-frustration-doors-southern-response-ch-150109

        Mid Cantabrians, 4258 who are still to settle claims with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) following damage to their homes, contents and land.

        The EQC spokesperson said the organisation also wanted to complete more than 20,000 homes under the Canterbury Home Repair Programme, with damage between $15,000 and $100,000 per claim, by the end of the year.
        http://www.guardianonline.co.nz/news/eqc-claims-remain-unsettled/

        The figures just don’t add up Chook!

        • Chooky 8.2.1.1

          well i have not gone into the details of it because it has not affected me being out of town …but reading my friends book just about did my head in ….and I wasnt stressed or desperate or old or with young kids in a unlivable house and been through the trauma of a major earthquake close up

          the question i would like to ask though is this: why wasnt the problem scoped at the beginning with those most in need catered for first?

          …instead there have been expensive house makeovers in the West of the city and elsewhere ..houses which are perfectly liveable and stable for a long time (…with just a few cracks and stains and concrete drives with cracks…) being fixed up first ……while those in the East are living in horrendous conditions in some cases and left out in the cold and out of the loop…and psychologically desperate and physically needy

          ….seems crazy not to set the most urgent priorities and fix them first ….or remedy them with another house elsewhere first….and pay out on cracked concrete drives last of all

        • john 8.2.1.2

          EQC had half a million claims – half a million!!.

          Considering a large number of these require an engineers report, quantity surveyor’s assessment, and quotes from builders BEFORE they can even be assessed, it’s absolutely astounding that they’ve been getting though over 500 a day.

          Out of half a million, it’s pretty easy to find people getting a rough deal. Even if they had a very high 90% satisfaction rate, that’s still 50,000 dissatisfied claimants.

          Few people around NZ have any idea of the scale of the problem. There’s simply not enough staff available – assessors, engineers, and eventually builders – to rebuild Christchurch much faster than is currently happening.

          Pressure on construction staff and available materials means the cost of building a house in Chch is going up by 11% a year. There’s simply not the staff available, nor places for them to live if they moved from elsewhere.

          People also forget that the average time to design and build a house is 48 weeks, and 42 week for major repairs (half of that building, half for taken in design, documentation, and consenting).

          Which is why even a partial rebuild of the city, will still take many more years – at the very earliest.

          • Hamish 8.2.1.2.1

            The reason there is pressure on construction staff is because filthy fletchers and the government have colluded to pay shit wages so that Fletchers shareholders get a fat slice of the action.
            I know plenty in the trades who have given up on chch because they cant get decent wages. When the government is encouraging low-skill immigrants to do the work for peanuts then how could they.
            This is even worse than market failure, this is the National party ensuring the wealthy can make money out of christchurchs misery.

            • john 8.2.1.2.1.1

              Yet we have news articles saying Christchurch has the HIGHEST construction wages of anywhere in the country.

              http://www.3news.co.nz/Higher-salaries-for-construction-industry/tabid/421/articleID/328418/Default.aspx

              And Fletchers shareholders earn a massive 4.4% gross dividend – that’s around 3% after tax.

              • burt

                sound of crickets….

              • KJT

                $45 an hour for a skilled builder, supplying his own transport, tools, plus $1200 a week for accommodation. I was making more on Waiheke Island, 12 years ago, and the home owner supplied the accommodation..

                You would be lucky to walk away with minimum wage.

                A foremen working for a company made A$60 an hour in Queensland.

                No wonder why Christchurch is being rebuilt by cowboys and semi-skilled immigrants.

                The next leaky homes scandal, in 10 years time when all the shoddy building work by cowboys and cheap labour in Christchurch, comes home to roost.
                Key and the 40 thieves will be long gone, to Hawaii, by then. Having done their job of asset stripping a whole country.

          • KJT 8.2.1.2.2

            You have never worked as a builder, have you? 14 weeks is the normal time to build an ordinary houser.

            1 new commercial building in Lyttelton in 2 years.

            The rebuild is just not happening. Bro!

          • MrSmith 8.2.1.2.3

            “It found about 20 per cent of homeowners with repairs completed in 2013 were dissatisfied with the quality of repairs or the time taken to complete repairs after work has started.”

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/9366104/Brownlee-defends-EQC-performance

            EQC have stopped the satisfaction survey after it was reviled they were gaming the system, leaving out people that had dared to complain.

            “Following the EQC privacy breach in April 2013, the quarterly surveys on customers’ satisfaction with EQC’s claim handling process were stopped due to data extract and sharing issues.
            With these issues now resolved,  UMR have resumed surveying and we hope to have a backdated report published by August 2014
            We apologise for any inconvenience.”

            http://www.eqc.govt.nz/about-eqc/publications/customer-satisfaction

            That should make interesting reading, although “He who pay the piper picks the tune!”

            • Matthew Whitehead 8.2.1.2.3.1

              That’s an interesting interpretation of what happened. In reality there were just a few claims that weren’t flagged properly to automatically be randomised for a possible survey. That’s a bit different from gaming survey results.

            • john 8.2.1.2.3.2

              That’s amazing. Most people want their repairs done straight away, but according to your link, just 20% are upset about how long it’s taken or the quality of repairs.

              With half a million claims, and almost everyone having to wait at least a year or two, the surprising thing is that there isn’t 100% dissatisfaction as the time taken to complete repairs – not just 20%.

              • Colonial Viper

                Duh – they only surveyed people with repairs already completed. 20% of them were dissatisfied.

                They ignored everyone else still waiting.

                Read more carefully next time.

                • john

                  whoopee.

                  20% of people who have waited three years for repair are dissatisfied with the repair or how long it has taken.

                  Which means an incredible 80% ARE satisfied. That’s outstanding for such an enormous task.

                  On the other hand people claiming for more than they really should could cost us around $1.5 BILLION.

                  http://www.3news.co.nz/Rebuild-fraud-could-top-15-billion/tabid/421/articleID/290698/Default.aspx

                  Either way, out of half a million claims, there will be tens of thousands in the grey area where they don’t quite get what they want, or they get more than they should.

                  And the meat in the sandwich is a large number of people working bloody hard to do the best they can, under a constant barrage of abuse and criticism.

                  Sometimes I’m surprised they don’t all just get up and walk out en mass and say stuff you – fix it yourself.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    The people on the front line aren’t the arseholes here, laissez faire National Government Ministers are.

                    whoopee.

                    20% of people who have waited three years for repair are dissatisfied with the repair or how long it has taken.

                    Which means an incredible 80% ARE satisfied. That’s outstanding for such an enormous task.

                    It’s mediocre.

                    I mean to say, the way you are making up interpretations of the survey to suit the propagandist viewpoint is mediocre.

                    • john

                      CV says ‘The people on the front line aren’t the arseholes here, laissez faire National Government Ministers are.”

                      Those terrible ministers, out there making sure builders do a bad job.

          • Matthew Whitehead 8.2.1.2.4

            John is correct, this (the Canterbury EQC response) is the most complicated disaster recovery insurance program to have ever been attempted, and by far the biggest state-run insurance payout relying on actual valuation of damage, and it’s actually setting world standards in how to do this, especially in small countries. I know that’s hard to hear amid the numerous difficult and disputed claims that are still outstanding, but they really do represent a very small percentage of the total, and we prioritise customers with complaints that can be resolved as they’re identified. It may not seem that way from the outside, but this generally just relates to the large quantity of work we have on our plate.

            The deadline for CHRP completion by the end of this year is one that was moved up from a 2015 deadline- so if we get everyone who wants repairs done this year done by the end of the year, that’s an accelerated timeline and a big success, especially given how long some people have had to wait. (Not every repair will be completed in 2014 as some people want to defer works to 2015. The goal for CHRP is to have only those people left to repair by the end of the year. It’s a pretty ambitious goal, but it’s possible for us to do it, and every claims-related employee at EQC was working extremely hard in February to make sure we were set up to succeed)

            There will still be overcap and commercial insurance delaying the rebuild after EQC finishes the settlement phase, but at least the vast majority of homeowners will have had their houses repaired. We’re currently at the stage for building claims that we were in for contents claims in 2012- mostly there across the whole business.

            As for statistics about possibly having 70,000 claims missing- I expect I know where that figure comes from and I wouldn’t rely on it. I’m the one who implemented the tracking for all of our <$15k claims, for instance, and we’re pretty sure we’re nosing the finish line, with most outstanding claims being the ones that are awaiting information from customers. I manually look into some of those claims we have left occasionally to figure out any flaws in the reporting system we’re using and it’s pretty damn accurate. In fact most of the problems I have are human error, where someone forgets to report on a claim or writes the number down wrong and it doesn’t reconcile, so in those cases I get to say it’s actually progressed further than we thought.

            If we use the same source of data that the 70,000 claims are from, we ought to have 30,000 customers left for <$15k cash settlement, which is as many claims as the total amount we’ve tracked since September 2013. Unlike the random selection of the quality survey, if a group of 30,000 customers was lost in the system for cash settlement, you can bet we’d have heard about it pretty damn quick and had to scramble to settle them. As cash settlements wind down I’m going to do some certainty-checking on those 30,000 at some point soon, and expect to find them all settled elsewhere, actually at CHRP on a different claim number that we are already tracking, or most likely, claims that were intended to be for contents-only where someone accidentally opened a building exposure for no good reason, or just where the building settlement was done, but the building exposure was never closed.

    • burt 8.3

      So what you’re telling me is that a state run monopoly with legislative mandate to collects levies on all properties to socialise earthquake cost hasn’t worked like the advertising on the box said it would ?

      Go figure !

      • KJT 8.3.1

        Worked better than the private insurance companies. Would have worked a lot better if your RWNJ mates hadn’t dicked it, just as they have with ACC.

        • burt 8.3.1.1

          Hey, here is a really smart idea, let’s create more state owned monopolies and make the country more dependent on these single points of failure. Then let’s just ignore the reality that we’ll have many changes of government, evolving and changing business, social & economic circumstances and crisis of many and various forms. But we’ll stick our heads up our asses and kid ourselves these glorious state monopolies will always be run with the best intentions they were set up with. Let’s just go one further and ignore that when successive governments or perpetual change screw these monopoly points of failure up that we’re completely fucked. Zero accountability from anywhere. Big whoopee we get to vote for a change of government when they deny us choice, mandate how much we pay and let us down.

          Sure the insurance companies screwed up, no argument. Why people in Christchurch even bother with insurance eludes me, the glorious state just pays anyway. But seriously if what MrSmith says is correct about EQC, it’s way screwed up but I guess being a state run monopoly we just don’t hear about it like those nasty private businesses.

  9. Marius 9

    well said tsmithfield. yeah lets go ahead and put something in place that might speed up (not actually bring to an end but MIGHT speed up) the process for people already overwhelmed by this shit. More political doublespeak bullshit. we don’t need another department siphoning off the money for tea and cakes while the good people of christchurch prepare for another winter below sea level.

  10. BM 10

    You disagree with what’s written here?

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/06/labours_insurance_court.html#comments

    [lprent: Decided that this comment has caused too much diversion on this post. It has been put into tomorrow so that Farrars ignorance doesn’t disrupt our comment stream. ]

    • geoff 10.1

      Farrar is lying to his readers again and it appears they’re still suckers for it. As explained in the link the extra sessions are completely insufficient and under-resourced. And I quote:

      The courts have struggled valiantly to deal with the earthquake-related cases already filed. A special ‘Earthquake List’ has been set up with cases run through a special system designed to minimise costs and expedite resolutions. The court simply doesn’t have enough resources for the scale of the job.

      As for the costs? They’re put on the parties involved and will be added to settlements. The insurance companies will face costs if they lose (and they’re the ones who are likely to lose).

      • BM 10.1.1

        Ok.

        We’ve just had quite a bit of labour policy that’s been picked to bits which didn’t really reflect that well on labour.

        if you say this will make a difference I’ll take your word on that, being from the North Island I don’t have a lot of interest in the quake rebuild.

        • Lanthanide 10.1.1.1

          “I don’t have a lot of interest in the quake rebuild.”

          You should.
          1. How CHCH is handled by the government sets a precedent for these things in the future. Do we want a repeat of market-failure housing situation, or a proper response from the government?
          2. How CHCH is handled in terms of infrastructure repairs will cost the country money: in the short term for a job done well, or for larger costs over the long-term if the situation is penny-pinched. There is ultimately payback in terms of local city rates which you may not care about, but also long-term growth which translates into national tax returns, or the lack of.
          3. How CHCH is handled by insurers effects everyone in the country for when they take out a policy, in terms of how much the premiums are, what is actually covered, and your chances of getting a reasonable payout should you need to claim.

          Other parts of the country will suffer earthquakes. Of top concern should be the west coast (and that really is a case where the short to medium-term outcome is abandonment) and Wellington (which will probably never be re-built to the scale it is at now).

        • Tracey 10.1.1.2

          what a wankerish thing to say bm… You dont care.

          Apart from economic reasons which you usually base stuff on, theres the compassion for the poor bastards down there trying to put their lives back together…

          • Lanthanide 10.1.1.2.1

            As I outline above, even a purely self-interested, greedy twat like bm should care about the things that happen in this country, because they ultimately will impact on him one way or another.

    • Tom Gould 10.2

      Farrar really is scrambling to find fault here. It’s a great idea and it will make a real difference to people getting screwed over by their lawyered-up and deliberately indolent insurers. Tories hate it when the playing field is levelled towards the ordinary person. Image if they actually got justice? The system would fall apart.

      • BM 10.2.1

        From the kiwi blog link

        At best, this will simply drive up reinsurance costs (even more) as they will need to factor in a massive and potentially unlimited increase in legal costs.

        At worst, reinsurers will take their ball and go home.

        The EQC coffers are empty. Insurance reserves are depleted. The absolute LAST thing this country should be doing is sticking two fingers at the global reinsurers who we absolutely depend on to save us after the next disaster.

        http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/06/labours_insurance_court.html#comment-1337773

        Do you think this is a valid point? because the last thing Kiwi home owners will want is their insurance costs driven higher.

        • lprent 10.2.1.1

          Nope. These are judges doing it in an abbreviated process. All it does is to prevent the insurance companies delaying and thereby holding the policy holders to ransom. Generally the EQC has done its part already. It is the insurers that haven’t. And they have already factored the payouts in already. Don’t you read your invoices from them?

          • BM 10.2.1.1.1

            The woman is in charge of paying the insurance, she’s far more organized then me.

            • lprent 10.2.1.1.1.1

              Think it through. As far as I am aware, the EQC has largely either done what they were meant to do or they have had the provision for what they they will do according to the Act. The government has provision for the shortfalls in the budgets for the next next few years.

              The problem has been with the insurers who have been dragging their feet. Bear in mind that the insurers are losing virtually every claim as it proceeds through the civil courts.

              Then what she is saying is that if the insurers of the past were either undervaluing the risk OR they were planning on dragging plaintiffs through the courts until they gave up and took a settlement at a fraction of their house and land value. Or even possibly that the cost of dragging plaintiffs through the courts is less than the value that they are receiving from new insurance so they are trying to pay them eventually out of new earnings. And probably a combination of all of them.

              In any case, the insurers are not doing what they contracted to do, and you and her are arguing that they should be allowed to carry on doing it. To claim poverty by insurers is a bit rich, they are there to assess and carry the risk for a fee. What they are claiming is that they didn’t and you are defending them?

              You really are both heartless bastards. So are the insurers.

              After having my leaky building claim settled after 3 years just 3 weeks before the high court sat on it when they clearly had no case leaves me with no sympathy for them. What Cunliffe is proposing merely prevents them from delaying using the courts status hearings slow progress as a delaying mechanism. The intent as far as I can see is solely there to wear down the plaintiffs.

              • BM

                I think you may be misunderstanding where I’m coming from, I’m just asking questions to gather information.

                If it helps to get claims settled faster within Christchurch and it doesn’t have a hugely negative impact on every one else, then it’s good policy and will withstand any attacks that national may mount against it.

                • lprent

                  The only real impacts it will have is that

                  1. It may drive the insurance costs up by a small amount throughout NZ over the next 30+ years. That is the extra risk for the insurers for the relatively small number of claims that they would have been able to beat down through court attrition. Since they should have built that risk into their pricing already (as the courts sometimes remove that anyway), the impact will be small.
                  2. It will reduce the overhead costs of the lawyers because there won’t be nearly as many status hearings. More importantly the vast majority of these are simply timewasters by the insurers (believe me I have some personal experience in that). The biggest losers are likely to be the lawyers.
                  3. It probably won’t get done until early next year unless National flogs and implements the policy in the next 8 weeks. It will almost certainly be send through parliament in one of Nationals innovations of the abbreviated parliamentary process. So it won’t take a year.
                  4. In the meantime it will encourage earlier settlements before court. The insurers are unlikely to leave any cases that they are very likely to lose (ie most of them) to get into an abbreviated court process. There is no money in it for them.
              • Tracey

                even the high court has a specialist leaky home stream now and it has cut the time to a hearing by more than a half. Specialist streams absolutely reduce time.

                As for the increased premium red herring, everyone not with my insurance company has already had hikes so the insurance companies are back in profit

        • vto 10.2.1.2

          ffs BM, the insurers are pouring back into Christchurch and starting again to get competitive with each other. Do you know why?

          When you work out why it will highlight the typical deceit in Farrar’s post.

          So, why BM?

          • vto 10.2.1.2.1

            Hey BM, I wouldn’t mind an answer to this as it relates directly to your master Farrar and his deceit… come on …. give us an answer ….. it is very very simple …..

            • BM 10.2.1.2.1.1

              I’m not really up with the play with whats happening down in Christchurch.

              How about we save time and you tell me why master Farrar is lying.

              • Tracey

                why dont you fuck off. You made this thread about farrar, how about you post proof of his assertions without writing farrar said, or, just fuck off.

                [lprent: Good point. That was a diversion. Dropping that comment to later in the day. ]

              • vto

                Ffs Bm, you are really pathetic sometimes all the time ….. Your hero Farrar says this …

                ” “At best, this will simply drive up reinsurance costs (even more) as they will need to factor in a massive and potentially unlimited increase in legal costs.

                At worst, reinsurers will take their ball and go home.

                The EQC coffers are empty. Insurance reserves are depleted. The absolute LAST thing this country should be doing is sticking two fingers at the global reinsurers who we absolutely depend on to save us after the next disaster.” ”

                Farrar says at best this and at worst that …. They are both complete bullshit and so I asked you BM why it is that insurers (and obviously consequent reinsurers) are flocking back into Christchurch and getting competitive again ….

                It is because there is so much fucking profit to be made you fool of a man. Simple. Simple simple simple. Premiums are sky high and the risk of disaster and infrastructure failure is hugely lower. Think about it (difficult I know). All new build and infrastructure is built to a new much higher standard so can handle the jandal. Plus premiums are through the roof. Net result = opportunity for increased profit…

                … so Farrar’s conjecture as the bext and the worst is simple total and complete bullshit.

                Farrar is full of knowing bullshit. You BM are simply a fool.

        • Tracey 10.2.1.3

          my insurance company hasnt put our house premiums… I wonder if it is because its a not for profit? Nah, cant be, that couldnt work in real life…

        • KJT 10.2.1.4

          “Insurance reserves are depleted”

          Insurance company profits, except for one exception, went up! after the Christchurch earthquakes, as the do after disasters. People put more into insurance after something goes wrong.

          Loses are already factored into the next years premiums. Even though they have made money from us for decades,

      • Tracey 10.2.2

        the right will hate having their kowtowing to insurance companies highlighted

    • redfred 10.3

      Don’t read that shitty waste of bandwidth

  11. There is one thing which really angers me about this policy: the fact it has to exist at all. It’s unfathomable how little the government has done to help the people of Christchurch – and John Key has the gall to stand up in Parliament and say they should feel grateful to have a National-led government.

  12. dimebag russell 12

    the tories seem to be very anal when it comes to paying out to ordinary people. They only want to pay out to their mates. In the meantime they are going flat out causing confusion so that nobody knows what is happening. that is the national party way. dont pay up and fuck with people just for fun.

  13. While I think this is a brilliant idea and extra resourcing for Christchurch disputes that is long overdue, I should point out that given this system is to include EQC, it can’t really be cost-neutral to the government in regard to EQC cases, as EQC will most likely deplete the natural disaster fund paying out Canterbury settlement. As such, EQC meeting the costs of any court cases brought to that court out of its settlement budget will be an indirect cost to the government.

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