CIAS now provides a free independent advocacy service. We remain a community led and funded organisation, available to Cantabrians.

CIAS as an insurance only assistance service was closed in July this year. This new model of advocacy is available to Cantabrians who have issues/matters to resolve directly or indirectly from the earthquakes. This could involve insurance, home repair issues, or some other matter less directly related. Independent advocacy is for you to have assistance to restore your health and wellbeing to what it was pre-earthquakes.

If you would like to register for advocacy support from CIAS please let Lorraine Guthrie (Lead Advocate) know by one of these means:

What is an advocate?

An advocate will work with/for you to progress the issue you need resolving. He/she will be advocating for you, your aspirations and your position on a matter. Part of the role of the advocate is to ensure you are fully informed about the matter at hand, so will source information, assist with interpretation, suggest options for next steps and attend meetings with you or on your behalf. An advocate is not neutral as a facilitator or navigator is, is not a social service agency and does not provide free technical or legal advice. An advocate assists you to source, understand and implement information (technical, legal, insurance) into an action plan.

Why we are independent?

CIAS Trustees have always maintained independence is important in the rebuild and regeneration of Christchurch. Our accountability is to the people of Christchurch, which allows us to advocate for full and fair resolution and settlement of a dispute.

How we can offer free advocacy?

We are a non-government charitable trust, with funding provided through charities and others such as the Christchurch City Council and others.

We are a charitable organisation providing a free service to assist people facing additional challenges to those resulting from the earthquakes. Whilst we would like to help everyone, our resources are limited and are focused on assisting those most at risk.

How can I apply for assistance?
More information about the Trust

Do you live in Canterbury and are you facing additional challenges in resolving your earthquake insurance related issues, such as?

  • Are you elderly (generally over the age of 75) and struggling to manage the insurance claim process?
  • Are you under a doctor’s supervision for ongoing health related issues?
  • Are you or someone in your household dependant on a carer?
  • Are you under significant financial stress, to the point where your quality of life is suffering?
  • Do you have a physical, learning, or sensory impairment which limits your capacity to manage your insurance issues?
  • Are you a single parent living in inadequate living conditions, such as overcrowding?

Do you fit one or more of these criteria?

How might a CIAS Case Facilitator assist me?

How our CIAS Case Facilitator might assist you

How we expect to assist you to get Progress and Fair Play from the Insurers and EQC

  • Case Facilitator will meet with and/or talk with you
    • To confirm you meet criteria for our service
    • To gain an understanding of current issues related to your claim
    • To understand why resolution has not yet been reached and where you would like assistance
  • Case facilitator will summarise your current issue and discuss with the CIAS review team for options
  • Case facilitator will talk with you again to discuss options and together with you, agree on an action plan and assist you to implement the preferred plan, which could include:
    • Call EQC or insurers on your behalf to gain clarity and/or arrange a meeting
    • Attending meetings with you
    • Draft or review letters, gather documentation, arrange support people
    • Source experts such as QS/Engineers/Insurance experts/legal advisors which you might choose to contract
    • Assist you with applications for financial or other assistance
    • Help you to explore other options if your claim process cannot be progressed
    • Work with on your behalf or refer you to other support agencies as you require
How can I apply for assistance?

About CIAS

CIAS is a social service for people with additional challenges, who have been affected by the Canterbury earthquakes.

CIAS has been set up to provide assistance to victims of the earthquakes and their families as they work to understand, address and resolve issues, challenges, concerns and problems that have arisen, directly or indirectly, from those earthquakes.

Contact Us

We will be in contact within 48 hours.
Complaint/Feedback Protocol Information

Our postal address is PO Box 36156, Merivale, Christchurch 8146

Complaint/Feedback Protocol

CIAS will endeavour to provide a professional service and to treat each other and consumers with respect and courtesy.

Praise and appreciation is shared and celebrated, just as complaints are considered and resolved.

We welcome feedback as an opportunity to improve our practice.

Do you have praise to share?

Do you have a complaint about an aspect of our service?

  • Submit via our contact form or email directly to
  • Alternatively call Lorraine Guthrie (Project Facilitator) and talk through your complaint 021 247 2750
  • We commit to considering any concerns or complaints in a timely manner
  • You will receive a response from our Project Facilitator, outlining the findings of any investigation and the proposed method to resolve your complaint, if upheld
  • The substance of your complaint and the resolution will be reported at the Trustees at their next meeting. The minutes will record receipt of your complaint. No names will be recorded to ensure privacy of all concerned.
  • If your complaint relates to the Project Facilitator or Member of the Trust, write to the Chairperson. Please address your complaint to the Chairperson, CIAS Trust Board and send to PO Box 36156, Merivale 8146 Christchurch (marked confidential)

What to do if you are unsatisfied with the resolution proposed?

  • Write formally to the Trust office, address to the Chairperson, outlining your complaint in detail and why you are dissatisfied with the action taken or proposed.
  • The Chairperson will investigate and make a recommendation to the Trust Board.
  • You will receive the Trust Board’s response in writing.

What other avenues are available to you?

  • There are government agencies such as the Privacy Commission (0800 803 909), who may be able to assist you.
View our contact details