Claimant advocacy group EQCFix has welcomed the ongoing public inquiry into the Earthquake Commission (EQC) but has challenged the extent to which it will look at the issues surrounding the Canterbury earthquakes.
Earlier this week, Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods announced an inquiry to examine the role of EQC in managing claims arising from Canterbury quakes as well as future events.
Now, EQCFix spokesperson Mel Bourke has outlined that EQC’s funding structure, which she said has been explicitly excluded from the inquiry terms, is of concern to EQCFix.
“While EQCFix recognises that examining operational practices (or lack thereof) will help improve EQC’s future responses, questions over the funding of EQC… may in fact provide much better lessons as to what has driven the poor response experienced by so many in Canterbury since 2010,” Bourke noted.
EQCFix also questioned whether the Terms of Reference of the inquiry have been too heavily influenced by the private insurance industry’s continuing push to take over operational control of EQC.
“Letting private insurers complete quick assessments and then quickly cash settle claims as EQC’s agent, is not only a conflict of interest, given a private insurer’s liability over and above EQC’s ‘cap’, it fails to safeguard the quality and completeness of the assessment and settlement process, and is untested in a large disaster,” Bourke added.