Homeowners affected by the recent Kapiti Coast earthquakes are the first customers to enjoy the benefits of new automated processes in the Earthquake Commission's claims system.
As of noon on Tuesday last week, 18 homeowners had lodged a claim for damage after the magnitude 5.4 earthquake.
About half of the claims so far have come via an online lodgement form, a key enhancement to the EQC claims management system.
The latest enhancement, which provides the EQC event response teams with real-time information and reports, came online last week, so homeowners affected by the Kapiti quake are the first residents to benefit from the new improvements.
EQC Deputy Chief Executive, Readiness and Recovery, Renée Walker, says her team has been working hard over the last year to improve the organisation's systems to speed up the claims processes and improve the experience for its customers.
"We are focused on being better prepared for the next big event, based on all the lessons we have learned since the Canterbury earthquakes. By automating parts of the claims process, our settlement teams will be freed up from administrative tasks to focus on the customer and support them through the claims process," says Ms Walker.
"Last weekend's quake has only triggered a handful of claims but you can imagine the difference these upgrades will make if we are dealing with tens of thousands of claims."
The M5.4 quake was located about 45km north west of Paraparaumu. The quake was a "deep slab" event, occurring inside the Pacific Plate, with the Australian Plate sitting above it. The earthquake was felt by over 26,500 people ranging from Christchurch up to Auckland, and followed a smaller M4.7 earlier that night.
Ms Walker is encouraging any homeowners whose properties may have been damaged by Saturday's earthquakes to go online or contact EQC about lodging a claim.
"You can now lodge your claim online, or you can phone us so we can help you lodge a claim and explain the support that EQC can provide throughout the claim process. Each claim is individually assessed."
Ms Walker says that quakes like these are a reminder of the active land we live on and we need to take steps to make our homes safer and stronger.
"There are important preparedness steps we can all take, such as fixing and fastening household items, removing hazardous chimney types and checking foundations."
EQC's website has more information about what to do after an earthquake at:
You can also learn more about how to protect your family and your home from a damaging earthquake at: https://www.eqc.govt.nz/be-prepared