Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs Duncan Webb (centre) and Labour Tukituki MP Anna Lorck talk with flood victim Peter Bennett (right) of Havelock North. Photo / Warren Buckland
Like hundreds of people across Hawke’s Bay, Peter and Jenny Bennett are currently navigating the lengthy and stressful insurance process.
Their Havelock North home on Joll Rd was badly flooded during Cyclone Gabrielle on February 14 when the stream behind their home dammed up and overflowed into neighbouring properties.
Their home was yellow-stickered following the cyclone and, 10 weeks down the track, the couple has now received their contents insurance payout.
However, they are patiently awaiting decisions on their house insurance claim, to fix their home of 42 years, as well as decisions on EQC cover to remove silt and repair damage to their property.
Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs Duncan Webb, whose portfolio covers insurance claims, visited the Bennetts on Friday during a visit to the region.
He said while it was important to remember the insurance process does take time to do properly, the NZ Claims Resolution Service had been set up to help people if they had any concerns.
“One of the reasons I am here is to let people know that this is the service that we have stood up, which has some really talented people who know what the issues are … and their skill is advocacy through insurance claims.”
He said, so far, about 160 people had used the free service from Hawke’s Bay and about 30 of those inquiries had resulted in a case manager being appointed to help with their claim.
He said people could use the service for a range of insurance complexities and questions.
“It might be a complex repair, or it might be a complex relationship, or it might be that someone is vulnerable and not equipped to get on with it themselves, and this service can deal with any of those issues.
“If there are those complexities a file will be opened and a case manager will be appointed and you can work through the whole claim right through to completion.”
Call 0508 624 327 to use the NZ Claims Resolution Service which includes a team of about 25 people based in Christchurch.
Peter said he and his wife were currently staying in an Airbnb and their insurance cover provided them about six months of temporary accommodation.
He said beyond that point “we will be camping” as they could not afford to cover that ongoing cost themselves, which added time pressure to get their insurance claims settled and their home repaired.
“We are both retired and we don’t have the ability to keep earning money,” he said, about the prospect of taking on extra costs.
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