Cash settlements due in 2017
03 Apr 2017
Insurers expect most Kaikoura earthquake cash-settlement offers will be made by the end of this year for commercial and residential claims.
The Earthquake Commission (EQC) says the number of residential claims from the November 14 event has risen to about 38,000, with Christchurch, Wellington, North Canterbury and Marlborough accounting for the highest volumes.
Insurers are handling most home and contents claims from lodgement to settlement under a memorandum of understanding with the EQC that aims to improve the process compared with the Canterbury quake experience.
The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) says the Kaikoura quake was one of the most complex of its type, and one of the most expensive insured events in the world last year.
About 330 claims and customer service staff are focused on settling claims, including about 170 assessors and loss adjusters.
“The [agreement] struck between the EQC and insurers makes for a more streamlined approach, and that combined with a largely sum-insured and cash-settlement environment has the ingredients for a relatively quick recovery” ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton said.
High-volume, low-value claims are concentrated in Wellington and Christchurch, while high-value, low-volume claims are mostly in the top half of the South Island.
“Insurers are committed under the Fair Insurance Code to prioritise vulnerable customers with reference to guidelines we helped develop with the Human Rights Commission,” Mr Grafton said. “We are also prioritising the most damaged properties and the code requires our members to update their customers every 20 days on the progress of their claim.”
The EQC is continuing to manage all land claims, with about 3000 received, and it is also handling building and contents in some circumstances.
About 71% of claims lodged are for building damage only, 10% for building and contents and 9% for contents only.
So far the EQC has paid out more than $12 million.