The Tribunal will only consider residential insurance claims relating to the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 to 31 December 2011. The Tribunal will also be able to consider liability for earthquake damage that occurred after 2011 providing at least some of the damage in a claim occurred earlier.
You can apply to the Tribunal if:
This includes first-time settlement claims, as well as claims re-opened due to the discovery of additional earthquake damage or deficient repairs.
The Tribunal will not consider other types of insurance disputes, such as claims related to Kaikōura or other natural disasters.
Insurers and EQC are not able to file claims with the Tribunal.
The Act recognises that the Government’s priority is to resolve long-standing claims from the Canterbury earthquakes, so homeowners can move on with their lives. Focusing exclusively on these claims will allow the Tribunal to provide faster outcomes for eligible homeowners, many of whom have been waiting a long time for an outcome.
No. Many of the disputes involving on-sold properties – those sold since the damage occurred – are highly complex and may raise new legal questions that don’t yet have answers. Keeping these disputes outside the Tribunal will help ensure they don’t delay resolution of other claims.
The Tribunal will only consider claims between you and your insurers or the EQC. However, the Act gives the Tribunal the option to ‘join’ (or add) other potentially liable parties (such as builders) to a case where this could settle the claim faster or make the process fairer.
For example, if an insurer managed repairs to a home and the work was believed to be deficient, the builder who performed the repairs could be joined to the homeowner’s claim. The builder would be required to participate in Tribunal proceedings and would be subject to the Tribunal’s decision.
You can ask the courts to have your claim transferred to the Tribunal.
The courts can also transfer cases to the Tribunal, if it is in the interests of justice to do so.
Insurers will not be able to ask for a claim to be transferred to the Tribunal, but they will need to agree to its transfer if they filed the original claim with the courts.
The Tribunal is located in Christchurch. The address is:
Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal
Level 1, District Court
Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct
20 Lichfield Street
The Tribunal is open and you can apply now.
You will need to provide:
Legal representation is not necessary, but you may choose to engage a lawyer. More about the kinds of support you can have in the Tribunal is on the ‘About the Tribunal’ section of the website.
No. You can apply to the Tribunal free of charge. However, if you choose to engage other services, those of a lawyer for example, you will need to pay for those services.
The Tribunal process is flexible – providing different pathways to resolve a claim depending on the claim’s circumstances and history. It is also proactive – managing timeframes to move claims forward.
The Tribunal has powers like that of a court. The Tribunal can:
The Chair of the Tribunal is Chris Somerville. The appointment of members to support him is underway.
Tribunal hearings are public unless there is a reason for them to be private.
Following on from the submissions hearing, the Tribunal will issue a written decision to the parties. The decision will be subsequently published on the Tribunal website, unless there is good reason not to publish it.
That is difficult to know as every claim will be different. The Tribunal will set timeframes that must be followed and will actively manage cases to keep claims progressing. The Tribunal will also be able to adjust its resources in response to need. These things should contribute to an efficient process for homeowners.
The Act provides for an appeals process. Decisions can be appealed to the High Court on any grounds (fact or law), if agreed by the High Court. Subsequent appeals would be available on matters of law only.