Terms of reference for Independent Advisor’s work released

  • Dr Megan Woods

The Independent Ministerial Advisor sent in to speed up EQC’s Canterbury claims be tasked with improving claims management, assessing operational, resourcing, policy and legislative constraints and assessing any constraints caused by processes with private insurers, Minister Megan Woods has announced.

“Today I am releasing the Terms of Reference that will direct Christine Stevenson, the Independent Ministerial Advisor’s work to ensure swift and fair settlement of the 2600 outstanding claims from the Canterbury Earthquakes.

“She will work with the board and management to identify and report to me operational changes needed to ensure timeliness, fairness and high professional standards in the resolution of these claims.

“We want these claims sorted so people can get on with their lives. Yesterday I met with Christine as well as new interim chair Dame Annette King. I’m confident we can work together with EQC senior management to speed things up and make this happen.

“In November last year I instigated work through MBIE to bring EQC, Southern Response and the private insurers together to come up with new processes that met my expectations for fair and swift settlement of the remaining claims.

“I have asked Christine to link the changes at EQC directly to this work stream. It’s of prime importance to me that we tackle this with a joined up approach.

“Seven years is too long to wait and this government is committed to helping people who have been stuck in limbo for far too long” says Megan Woods.

EQC – Terms of Reference

The independent Ministerial advisor is appointed by the Minister responsible for the Earthquake Commission to work with the EQC Board and Management to provide advice to the Minister to speed up the resolution of outstanding insurance claims to EQC arising from the earthquakes that struck in Canterbury on or after 4 September 2010, including any aftershocks (the Earthquake Claims).

The purpose is to report to the Minister on operational changes needed for resolving any residual Earthquake Claims in a manner which ensures timeliness, cost effectiveness and high professional standards.

More specifically, the advisor, with input from the EQC Board and Management, will consider and report on, and may make recommendations in relation to:

  • options for possible improvement in the management of the Earthquake Claims by EQC;
  • any constraints faced by EQC that may prevent timely resolution of the Earthquake Claims, whether arising from operational, resourcing, policy or legislative settings, or otherwise;
  • any constraints caused by processes of other government agencies or private insurers to the extent that EQC’s ability to resolve the Earthquake Claims in a timely manner are dependent on those processes;
  • ongoing monitoring of the resolution of the Earthquake Claims;
  • any other related matter.

The independent Ministerial advisor will also work with MBIE on any related insurance issues, to coordinate advice to the Minister based on full information.

The advisor will not consider or report on, or make recommendations in relation to:

  • any individual entitlement relating to a specific insurance claimant, or resolution of any specific insurance claims;
  • the general governance arrangements of any agency;
  • any individual employment matter or decision taken within any agency;
  • the performance of any specific individual;
  • any matters that are subject to mediation, litigation or arbitration proceedings;
  • the re-opening of settled claims;
  • legal precedents (with regard to actual insurance claims) that have been established by the Courts;
  • any operational matters  relating to any insurance claim other than the Earthquake Claims;

The timeframe for initial report to Minister will be 6 weeks from the date of appointment.