Christchurch quake claims top $12b

Insurance payouts for Canterbury earthquake claims have topped $12 billion, the Insurance Council of New Zealand says.

It predicts 2014 will be a "watershed year" for Canterbury earthquake claims, as 80 per cent of commercial and 66 per cent of all residential claims had been fully settled.

As of the end of June, private insurers had paid out $7.7 billion in commercial claims and $4.4 billion in settling residential claims, totalling $12.1 billion.

"Insurers are currently paying out $11 million a day to get Cantabrians back into their homes and enabling businesses to move forward," Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said.

Last quarter saw a "major ramp up in progress" with 1517 over cap claims settled, he said, double the previous quarter. The figure is the equivalent of 17 claims settled daily and insurers handing over 43 repaired or newly built homes weekly to their customers.

"The settlement of Canterbury earthquake residential insurance claims has definitely reached a turning point with 50 per cent of all over cap claims now fully settled and 72 per cent of the out of scope claims completed," he said.

At the end of the June quarter, insurers had 22,739 dwelling claims over the $100,000 plus GST EQC cap, according to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) survey, 284 more than the March quarter.

"Private insurers have reached the halfway mark by fully settling 11,392 over cap dwelling claims, including the completion of 2203 rebuilds and major repairs," said Mr Grafton.

Of the 11,347 over cap claims remaining, 8110 insurer-managed rebuilds and repairs are in progress: 1611 (20 per cent of 8110) are currently under construction; 442 (5 per cent) in consenting with a local authority or government agency; 1089 (13 per cent) under contract.

The Cera survey also confirmed that 9189 claims were cash settled with a further 850 awaiting their agreed cash settlement to be finalised, Mr GRafton said.

"In spite of insurers receiving over 700 newly over cap dwelling claims from EQC this year, insurers are still confident that almost all major repairs and rebuilds will be completed by the end of 2016," he said.

However, Mr Grafton warned that while "some headway" had been made, there were many complicating factors which could hinder progress.

 

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