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Settlement likely to be by cash

28 Nov 2016

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) is unlikely to replicate its home repair programme in Kaikoura and surrounding towns hit hard by this month's earthquake. It will pay homeowners cash instead.

Thousands of claims following the February 2011 Canterbury earthquake were resolved through the Canterbury Home Repair Programme.

The EQC and Fletcher Building-managed programme controversially controlled the repair process for homeowners with less than $100,000 of damage.

EQC expects 50,000 claims from November 14's magnitude-7.8 earthquake and still has about 10,000 jobs, such as complaints about repairs and land claims, to resolve in Canterbury.

It has three staff in Kaikoura, two in Ward and two in Waiau.

On Monday, EQC customer and claims general manager Trish Keith poured cold water on the possibility of a new home repair programme being established.

"EQC is currently planning to settle cash settle building, land and contents claims. There are currently no plans to run a managed repair programme as in Canterbury," she said.

EQC traditionally cash settled claims before and after the Canterbury earthquake.

"There were very specific reasons for running a managed repair programme in Christchurch, where there was significant earthquake damage to built-up, urban areas," Keith said.

Keith said EQC was in ongoing negotiations with the Insurance Council and private insurers to agree on a coordinated approach for assessing and settling claims following the magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

"One of the lessons EQC has learned from Canterbury is that taking the time now to plan will lead to better outcomes for customers," she said.

EQC expected 50,000 claims from theKaikoura earthquake and had received 10,000 by Friday.

It still has thousands of land and dwelling claims to settle six years after the February 2011 Canterbury earthquake.

EQC received more than 460,000 claims for 166,000 buildings in Canterbury, which equated to a spend of $9.4 billion.

Keith said by the end of October, EQC had about 5000 remedial requests to resolve in Canterbury, but expected this to reduce to about 3500 by the end of 2016.

A presentation released under the Official Information Act showed the organisation's "preference" was to resolve remedial work, where the first round of repairs were botched, by cash settlement.

 - Stuff

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