Christchurch Earthquake Claims Engineering Panel

Engineering disputes sit at the heart of many of the complex and currently unresolved insurance claims in the greater Christchurch area. Engineering New Zealand will be establishing the Christchurch Earthquake Claims Engineering Panel to support the work of the GCCRS towards resolving outstanding insurance claims.

Engineering New Zealand is New Zealand’s professional home for engineers. One of Engineering New Zealand's roles is to create and maintain confidence and trust in the work engineers do, by maintaining professional standards and raising the bar for engineers. They also facilitate connections within the industry and across society, and recognition for the key role that engineers play.

The Panel will be administered by Engineering New Zealand and will be independent of the Courts, insurers and homeowners.

Members of the Panel may be called on to help resolve engineering aspects of an insurance claim. The services the Panel will provide include:

Initial Process Appraisals

GCCRS may ask a Panel Member to carry out an Initial Process Appraisal.  This may be under a joint instruction from the homeowner and the insurer, to help determine steps that could be taken to resolve the claim. This process could involve a conversation with the homeowner about their observations of earthquake damage or inadequate repairs, a visual assessment of the home, and a brief report about issues that could require another process under the GCCRS.

Peer review

GCCRS may ask a Panel Member to carry out a peer review of engineering assessments of earthquake damage and reinstatement recommendations for a home. The peer review can include advice about whether sufficient investigations have been carried out, the evidence supports the findings, the correct standards have been applied, and the conclusions in the report are robust.

Engineering assessment of earthquake damage and reinstatement recommendations

A Panel Member can be engaged by the homeowner, the insurer or both to carry out an assessment of the home, advise on earthquake damage and recommend an appropriate reinstatement methodology.

Provide explanations about engineering assessments

A Panel Member can be asked by the GCCRS to meet with a homeowner and/or insurer to discuss an engineering report that either party has received. This would involve helping the homeowner and/or the insurer to understand the report’s findings and recommendations.

Facilitation

A Panel Member specifically trained in facilitation and mediation techniques can be asked by the GCCRS to act as an independent facilitator between engineers who have different opinions on earthquake damage and reinstatement. The Panel Member will facilitate a conversation with these engineers to better understand where opinions align and where they are misaligned. The purpose of the facilitation is to give everyone greater clarity about how to move forward, towards resolving the insurance claim.

Expert advisor

A Panel Member can be asked by the GCCRS to provide independent expert engineering advice during a determination of an insurance claim, acting in accordance with the High Court Code of Conduct for Expert Witnesses.