NZ Earthquake Claims Top $13 billion

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
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More than $13 billion has been paid out by insurance companies on Canterbury earthquake claims.

Payments on commercial claims had topped $8b by the end of September 2014 and residential claims had topped $5b, the Insurance Council of New Zealand said.

Canterbury was jolted by magnitude 7.1 quake in September 2010, a 6.4 quake in February 2011 and after-shocks.

In New Zealand, the Earthquake Commission, a government agency, provides natural disaster insurance to residential property owners with a cap of $100,000 plus GST per property and private insurers pay beyond that.

Residents have complained about the process of dealing with the demarcation between the insurers.

Last month Labour Earthquake Recovery spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said 20,000 complaints had been made about EQC claims and 685 remained open. The EQC said it had dealt with 750,000 claims from Canterbury quakes.

The council said insurers had settled 72 per cent of all residential over-cap claims and out of EQC scope claims by the end of September, up from 66 per cent at the end of the June 2014 quarter.

The number of customers who are yet to receive offers or are undecided who should manage them, has dropped to seven per cent of the total over cap claims from 10 per cent in the previous quarter.

Many customers yet to receive settlement offers were in complex shared properties where assessments were still continuing, the council said.

While issues remained, such as complex shared properties walls, retaining walls, flood, EQC land compensation settlements and mass land movement, the pace of settlement had not dropped off and insurers were confident almost all residential claims would be settled by the end of 2016, the council said.

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