Frequently asked questions about facilitation
Who attends a GCCRS facilitation?
How long does the process take?
Do I have to take part in facilitation?
How do I enter?
Who pays for the costs?
Do I need advice on the facilitation contract?
Is attending facilitation like going to court?
Do I need representation?
What reports will be used?
Who does the talking?
What should I do before a facilitation event?
What is the best way to get the most out of facilitation?
What happens if an agreement is reached?
What happens if I change my mind?
What happens if this agreement is not kept?
What happens if we cannot reach an agreement?
The people attending facilitations are those who want to resolve an insurance dispute and a facilitator. This usually means the policy holder, EQC and/or the insurer and the facilitator. Lawyers and support people may also attend.
The GCCRS schedules dates and times for facilitation as soon as all the parties and a facilitator are available. The meetings usually last around three or four hours, but some can last all day. A confirmation letter or email with date and time of facilitation will be sent to all parties. The facilitator may contact you before the facilitation date to discuss options for the best process to meet your and the other party’s needs.
No, it is totally voluntary and your decision. Entering the process must be agreed to by all involved parties.
Talk to your case manager about getting involved in facilitation. Your case manager will be able to advise you on whether this is the best option for you.
GCCRS will pay for the costs of the facilitator and the costs of running the meeting, including location costs. GCCRS may look to recover these costs from the insurer or EQC. Remember you will need to pay for your own expert’s time to attend the meeting.
Before entering the facilitation you will need to agree to the Dispute Resolution Agreement Contract. GCCRS will require evidence that you have received legal advice on this contract before signing it. GCCRS can provide free access to this legal advice.
No. The facilitation process is much less formal and is nothing like a court process. Usually facilitation occurs in a meeting where the parties and the facilitator talk around a table about the issues and options for resolution.
No. People can represent themselves at facilitation; however, lawyers and experts can be very helpful in assisting parties to present their view of the dispute – particularly in assembling the facts, and setting out issues and the law. Be aware you will have to pay for your own experts but GCCRS will assist you with legal advice if needed. GCCRS strongly recommends legal support through the process.
Both parties will need to provide copies of any reports (e.g. engineering reports) they wish to rely on before the facilitation takes place. These reports will be provided to both parties and the facilitator so that everyone is clear on what is being discussed.
You, the other party, lawyers and experts, and the facilitator do the talking. Other support people do not usually speak at facilitation unless specifically asked to.
Make sure you have all the important papers with you (e.g. insurance policy, engineering reports, letters and emails). Think about how to describe the problem and what you want to say. Writing it down will help you to remember everything. GCCRS strongly recommends that you discuss your case with a lawyer prior to your facilitation. GCCRS will provide you with free legal advice if you want it.
Be prepared to:
- listen to the other person’s point of view and accept that this is how they see the world, even if you do not agree with what they say
- explain your point of view and why you hold it
- acknowledge anything you might have done differently or better
- bend a little to reach agreement
- be honest and open about what has happened
- have an open mind about options for resolution.
The agreement will be recorded in a settlement agreement. These become legally binding and enforceable as contracts through the courts when signed by the parties. You will be given a copy of the agreement to take away with you.
A settlement agreement is final; once it is signed you cannot go to court if you do not like what you have agreed to. Be clear about what you agree to, and make sure it is acceptable to you. If you do not agree then nothing is binding and you can withdraw from the process at any time before you reach an agreement, including during the facilitation itself.
If one party does not do what is required under the settlement agreement, for instance make a payment, the other party may apply to the Courts for enforcement of the agreement.
Where agreement is not reached after facilitation the parties may agree to proceed for a determination (a decision) on the issues. This is a free service offered through GCCRS. You may also choose to file proceedings in the Courts, or apply to the Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal when it is up and running.