EQC announces plan to settle drainage claims

7 Mar 2016

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) is rolling out an assessment programme for sewer and stormwater pipes suspected of having earthquake damage, starting this month (March).

EQC’s General Manager of Customer & Claims, Trish Keith, says it currently has about 2,500 drainage claims but expects this could increase to about 6,000 with most claims being settled with cash payment.

“EQC’s focus has been getting houses repaired and people back in their homes. But we are now in a position where we can address the issues with drainage,” Mrs Keith says.

“It has been some time since some drains were inspected. To ensure we have the best information about all potentially-affected properties, EQC has decided that all sewer and stormwater drains where owners have lodged a drainage claim which hasn’t been settled yet, will be inspected whether an inspection has already been done or not.

“The commission has contracted some of Canterbury’s largest drainlaying firms, all of which are licensed with the New Zealand Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board, to carry out the work at no cost to homeowners. These contractors are also Certifying Drainlayers, which is the highest qualification available.

“When inspecting the drains, the drainlayers will obtain a CCTV recording, identify the location and nature of any earthquake damage, recommend a repair strategy for any identified earthquake damage and provide an estimated cost of repair to EQC.

“Where earthquake damage is confirmed, EQC will determine a cash settlement on the basis of the repair strategy recommended by the drainlayer. The same process will apply for new claims lodged during 2016.”

Mrs Keith says EQC will provide additional support for customers who have a genuine need for assistance in finding and hiring contractors to carry out their drainage repairs after they have received their cash settlement.

”The Earthquake Commission Act allows EQC to choose to settle claims by cash payments. But

homeowners can have confidence that if further damage is discovered during the repair process they can get in contact with EQC and, if we agree the damage is earthquake-related, an additional payment to cover additional costs may be made,” Mrs Keith says.

For more information on EQC’s approach to drainage claim settlement, visit the EQC drainage claim website page.