EQC is now offering a free mediation scheme. This is good news and a step forward – but there are limitations on what it covers.
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While the scheme's funded by EQC, it'll be independent: it's being administered by the Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ). The mediators will be selected by you (as the complainant). However, it's limited to "complaints which can benefit from mediation," according to Toni Izzard, Disputes Resolution Manager.
Some examples of complaints that will be excluded from EQC mediation are: disputes over legal interpretations of the Earthquake Commission (EQC) Act; delays in apportioning parts of a claim or in deciding settlement payments; and disputes between insurers or with your insurance company.
Claims that can be heard include disagreements over valuations of contents or options for remedying or fixing the damage where there is a significant divergence of opinion between the EQC and you.
To start the mediation process, you need to lodge a formal complaint with EQC's customer complaints resolution service. If your complaint remains unresolved after investigation, the investigator will decide if EQC's guidelines make it appropriate for mediation. If so, you're asked to begin the process. When you do this, your complaint is passed on to AMINZ.
The "compensation" limits are governed by the EQC Act, and each claim is capped at $100,000 for buildings and $20,000 for contents. However, discretionary payments may be possible in very limited circumstances.