As a Result of the Canterbury Earthquake more
and more people have been dealing with stress both of a financial nature and in
the anxiety stakes. In April Janine Starks
put together ten helpful tips on coping and I thought it an appropriate time to
remind all those affected of things they can do to relieve the stress factor.
Whether you’ve lost a home, have damage, lost
your job, or are now worried about job security, thinking too far ahead makes
the problem seem insurmountable. Instead, refocus yourself on the very short
term – just the next month or two. Getting back that feeling of control, in
some small fashion has a calming effect.
I’m a great believer that collecting
information, record keeping and being pro-active goes a long way in regaining
control. An organised person conquers a problem with far less stress than those
1. Start a folder: a ring-binder with
dividers. If you home is your financial problem, type up a summary page – your
address and contact details; EQC claim number; your insurers details and policy
number; bank account details; a full list of contact details for your assessor,
claims handler, engineer, builder, moving company, storage unit. Have it all in
one place so you are not scrambling.
2. File your paperwork: policy document,
latest insurance schedule, any letters or emails from EQC, the title to your
property, floor plans of your property if you have them. Start a section for
photos of property damage, contents claim, correspondence with your insurer and
assessor. Have a notes page for writing down the date of phone calls and what
was said. Print off all emails and file them. Confirm any verbal conversations
on email to your claims handler or assessor.
3. Don’t bother ringing EQC incessantly:
you’ll get more and more wound up. But if you send them anything, call and make
sure it’s on your file.
4. Talk to friends affected by the last
earthquake: find out their tips – we are our own experts.
5. Start collecting information. When EQC
arrive on your doorstep for a full visit, you should be fully armed. Have
copies ready of any building report, building quotes, engineers report, floor
plans etc. What a waste of their time, if they need to explain how a contents
claim works. Every broken item should be photographed and numbered, written up
on a schedule, with a quote for replacement. This is a laborious task, but the
internet is a wonderful tool. Prices of TVs and crockery can all be printed
off. If you can’t find the exact model, something close is fine. If the shop
you purchased it from is no longer, retailers in other cities can be helpful.
6. Read your policy document: dull as it
sounds, check the definition of your ‘home’. Ring your insurer and check to see
whether items like your ‘deck’ are covered. I was told ours wasn’t as we hadn’t
declared its size, but we managed to over-turn that.
7. Find out what EQC don’t cover: with fences,
patios, paths, pools, driveways you won’t need to deal with EQC. Go straight to
your insurer to have them repaired.
8. ‘Other people’ don’t have priority: its
negative thinking and total rubbish. Those who appear to be making more
progress are usually being pro-active and spending some of their own money to
get early answers so they can push their insurer into action.
9. Get pro-active: don’t sit around and assume
your damage is under $100,000. The 15 minute EQC visit was not carried out by
engineers or builders. My own home in Redcliffs was given category 4 (minor
damage, 9 month wait). Our private engineer confirmed there is easily more than
$100,000 of damage. Carrying out your own engineers report can cost $900.
Anyone living on a hill should seriously consider it. Alternatively go for a builder's
report as they can help identify hidden damage. Don’t assume every builder is
busy as specialist companies spend all day doing reports. Expect a 3-4 week
wait (no biggie).
10. Stay proactive with your insurance
assessor: they will take photos and have a good eye, but they are not a builder
or an engineer. View them as a ‘go-between’. Keep asking what the next step is
and what they need from you. They will bring in a proper building assessor who
will price up the damage. Then they’ll hand over to project managers who
organise the repairs, once EQC have paid out. In the case of a total rebuild,
you may be allowed to opt for a full service architect who will project manage
as well as provide new plans
The full article can be found at http://www.interest.co.nz/insurance/53091/financial-columnist-janine-starks-prescribes-10-steps-deal-financial-stress-after-ch Janine Starks
writes a regular column in The Press and is Co-Managing Director of Liontamer Investments.