Be in the know be­fore you claim

Marlborough Midweek - - OUT & ABOUT - TRACEY HE­WITT

Last month Com­mu­nity Law Marl­bor­ough once again got to host John God­dard from the law firm Mor­risonKent.

On this oc­ca­sion John trav­elled to Ward to give his pre­sen­ta­tion on ‘How to Nav­i­gate Earth­quake Claims: A guide for Claimants’.

There was a great turnout with lots of ques­tions asked. Here are the main points from his pre­sen­ta­tion:

- En­sure you have a copy of your in­surance pol­icy word­ing that was in place at the time of the earth­quake.

- You can re­quest your file from your in­surance com­pany through the Pri­vacy Act, and in­for­ma­tion from EQC un­der the Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act.

- Th­ese earth­quake claims may be more com­plex now be­cause of the mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing which en­ables in­sur­ers to set­tle claims on be­half of EQC.

- Min­i­mum stan­dards for in­sur­ers are con­tained in the Fair In­surance Code 2016.

- En­gi­neers work to a brief. En­sure the brief you give your en­gi­neer results in earth­quake re­pairs meet­ing the cor­rect stan­dard of re­pair.

- En­sure scopes of works are ac­cu­rate and con­tain suf­fi­cient de­tail.

- Pro­fes­sional fees form part of the in­surance claim; while there may be an up­front fee to pay, th­ese costs should be re­im­bursed later.

- Be­fore ap­ply­ing for a build­ing con­sent, you may be able to re­quest a pre-ap­pli­ca­tion meet­ing with the coun­cil.

There may be a fee for this. It could also help to ap­ply for a pro­ject in­for­ma­tion mem­o­ran­dum to stream­line any build­ing con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions.

- If you have had work done as part of your claim, and en­gaged and paid for the ser­vices of trades peo­ple, the in­surance com­pany has an obli­ga­tion to set­tle that part of your claim (ie where the dam­age has been quan­ti­fied).

- Set­tling an earth­quake in­surance claim in­volves par­tic­i­pat­ing in a com­mer­cial ne­go­ti­a­tion.

- Claimants are en­cour­aged to pre­pare them­selves to take part in ne­go­ti­a­tions.

- There may be some el­e­ments of earth­quake claims that are ap­pro­pri­ate for res­o­lu­tion through the Dis­putes Tri­bunal (small claims court).

- Use­ful web­sites for in­for­ma­tion in­clude dis­putestri­bunal.govt.nz, icnz.org.nz and eqc.govt.nz

GE­ORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Home own­ers can have their own team of ex­perts when work­ing through in­surance claims af­ter earth­quake dam­age.

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