New Zealand Labour Party

Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments

Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods.

“Under questioning from Labour the Government has admitted that they’re in discussions to privatise a core function of EQC to decide how much a claim is worth, giving that function to the very businesses who have to pay out those claims.

“Labour doesn’t have a problem with insurance companies playing a role, but giving them the ability to define the value of claims creates a conflict of interest.

“EQC currently pays for all claims under $100,000 and insurance companies pick up the tab for amounts over this cap. This new process may incentivise insurance companies to keep claims below $100,000 and avoid paying out as much as they should.

“It’s easy to see the potential for people affected by earthquakes to miss out on a fair payment.

“EQC’s responsibility is for homes damaged by earthquakes to be assessed fairly. The Government is walking away from this responsibility.

“The Government should be on the side of people but once again are putting the interests of business before people.

“John Key must come clean about their privatisation agenda and provide assurances that this will be a transparent process with the appropriate protections and public oversight of public money,” says Dr Woods.