Report finds Earthquake Commission underprepared for Canterbury earthquakes

A 245-page report into the performance of the Earthquake Commission has found they were completely underprepared to deal with the volume of claims after the Canterbury earthquakes.

EQC had 22 staff when the first earthquake shook Canterbury at 4:35am on September 4, 2010. 

To manage the claims the organisation's ranks quickly increased to 1600, but some of the new employees were not equipped with the skills to do the job properly which led to problems with the repairs.

A solo mother is one of the claimants highlighted in the report.

Georgie Hanafin has been battling the Earthquake Commission to settle a claim on the home she bought in 2013. She describes the last 6 years as hell.

"Draining, soul-destroying, heartbreaking, financially impossible David versus Goliath is what it feels like a lot of the time," she says.

Report writer Dame Silvia Cartwright says the Earthquake Commission's meant well but the response needed to be better.

"The everyday staff and managers did their very best but it just wasn't good enough for the people whose lives were so seriously affected.

"The assessment of the damage was not of the quality that would normally be expected."

The flow-on from the assessment meant the repair work was at times inadequate and Dame Silvia says she has grave concerns about the quality of Canterbury's housing stocks as a result.

The reports made eight detailed recommendations including more respectful, fair and professional treatment of claimants, better communication with claimants and a more consistent approach to the way property assessments are carried out.

Late last year EQC formally apologised for its handling of claims, tonight the Government's promising it will do better going forward.

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods says: "The overriding consideration for us as a Government will be what do we need to change so no one has to go through what the people of Canterbury have been through again".

But it's still no comfort for Georgie Hanafin whose claim remains outstanding tonight with it's future uncertain.

But one thing she knows for sure is: "Dealing with EQC I don't want to ever have to deal with them again".