The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has appointed a new General Manager Customer Services. Cantabrian (by adoption) Bruce Emson took over the role of managing the operational arm of the Crown’s insurer last week.
Mr Emson was previously Chief Executive of NZ Bus, a wholly owned subsidiary of Infratil NZ where he spent four years re-engineering the public transport giant. He brings extensive international experience gained in a 32-year career with global petroleum company Shell where he oversaw logistics from locations such as Budapest, Melbourne, London and Singapore.
The father of two moved back to Canterbury earlier this year because of a desire to be closer to family and “to play some role in Christchurch’s recovery effort”.
“My skills are in the organisational leadership of large organisations. Success for an organisation looks like satisfied customers and my aim is to harness the energy of EQC to produce satisfied customers who’ve been treated with respect and have received what they’re entitled to,” says Mr Emson.
One of Mr Emson’s first tasks will be to manage EQC’s commitment to pay contents claims and complete assessments by Christmas.
“We have a major contents claims campaign currently underway to ensure customers get their contents claims in by October 24 so that they can be paid by Christmas. And we have introduced a street-by-street approach which will help us complete inspections of all earthquake damaged homes by Christmas. The strategy will increase inspection rates, and help give home owners a better idea when they will be seen.”
Mr Emson said this represented a progression from a ‘worst first’ strategy, which was adopted following the February 22 earthquake, to a street-by-street inspection plan where teams are allocated all remaining uninspected properties on a street. This eliminates travelling time between assessments and allows more completed inspections per team per day.
“The rapid assessment of all properties in Christchurch identified where the worst damage was located. We adopted a ‘worst first’ strategy to ensure those homes with the worst damage would be seen first. Houses with severe structural damage, over the EQC cap of $100,000, and those with major structural damage were seen on-target by mid-July. Along the way we had to re-prioritise our inspection process to accommodate all properties in the Red and Orange zones. This allowed the Government to give home-owners in these areas some certainty and make offers to people in the Red Zone.”
Mr Emson said approximately 80,000 homes remained in the minor category. These homes were identified during the Rapid Assessment phase. “The co-ordinated street-by-street strategy is designed to inspect these homes in the quickest possible time.”
However he urged anyone who believed their home had significant damage,and had not yet been seen, to contact EQC immediately on 0800 DAMAGE, 0800 326243.