The Government has launched a new "one stop shop" service to fast-track outstanding residential insurance claims for homeowners in Christchurch.
The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS) has been set up to provide homeowners a "free to access, impartial pathway to settle their claims", a Government statement says.
Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Megan Woods says she realised that more needed to be done to "help people who have been stranded for years waiting for their claims to be resolved".
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It comes after the Government announced in August a $12 million payout to the former owners of uninsured properties in the Christchurch red zones - an announcement welcomed by the Human Rights Commission.
"Our new one stop shop will provide independent case management to bring together fast tracked claims handling, specialist engineering support, psychosocial support, and legal expertise to help resolve claims," Ms Woods said.
Those claiming insurance will be given access to a new online tool where they can "see clearly what the next step is for their claim", Ms Woods says, which will further explain "who is going to do it, and when it will be done by".
She added that the new service - hosted and operated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) - will operate on a 'no wrong door' basis.
"Anyone with an unresolved claim can call or come to the new office on Cashel Street and our settlement support brokers will tailor the approach to suit each individual situation," she said.
"Claimants will have one person in charge of their claim who will drive it along for them - they won't need to call up and speak to a different person all the time. They will know who is responsible for settling their claim."
Ms Woods said she has asked EQC and Southern Response for new processes to ensure a streamlined, cross-agency resolution process."
"I am also inviting private insurers to also join this scheme."
Organisations such as Engineering New Zealand and Community Law Canterbury are involved in the new service.
GCCRS is set to provide homeowners access to engineering, legal and wellbeing support through expert advisory groups. A homeowner advisory group is planned to be established to ensure the needs of homeowners are being met.
Work to establish these groups commences on Tuesday and the chairs of each will be part of the overarching advisory committee, which also includes representatives of MBIE, Treasury, EQC and Southern Response.
"I encourage anyone who has an unresolved claim or a potential concern with a repair to contact the new service," says Ms Woods.
The Government came under fire over earthquake insurance claims after it was revealed that taxpayer-funded private investigators spied on Christchurch earthquake victims.
State-owned insurer Southern Response employed private investigators to snoop on claimants, gathering various types of information on them.
More information on GCCRS is available at www.gccrs.govt.nz