Apportionment model debated
The Earthquake Commission and insurers say Christchurch insurance claims should move forward "far more quickly" under a modelling system to better apportion costs from multiple quakes, but that they need the agreement of reinsurers to back the scheme.
Both sides, with the insurers represented by the Insurance Council, say they are getting closer to a "statistical" model that will fairly apportion what they need to pay to Canterbury residents hit by the September, February, June and other damaging quakes.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said this month a working model for apportionment between EQC and the insurers should be created by next month.
However, the Insurance Council and EQC did not give a firm timeline on when they might come up with a model to resolve who should pay what proportion of each earthquake claim.
But they said both sides were working well together on the issue during the weekly meetings or conference calls.
Insurance Council chief executive Chris Ryan said chief executives from about eight or so residential insurers were looking for a solution to the apportionment problem, and he was optimistic of a resolution.
These insurers included IAG (State and NZI), Vero, AA Insurance, Tower, Lumley and a couple of smaller New Zealand owned mutuals plus the Earthquake Commission.
The group of chief executives was getting advice from business analysts and actuaries building up a statistical database to enable insurance costs on the Canterbury quake damage to be fairly split.
The model being formed would be a statistical one that would try and even out payments in a fair manner between the different insurers involved, Ryan said.
"What we're trying to do as quickly as possible is get some sort of model where we can apportion things across the different events, and everybody can agree to it [and] reinsurers on either side can agree to it.
"I don't think we're too far away from getting [a model], but it has been very difficult."
EQC chief executive Ian Simpson said the model would in essence be an "operational" answer to the apportionment issue, after a 2011 court ruling made it clear that EQC could be called upon multiple times with the cover reinstated after each event. EQC can pay up to a $100,000 claims cap for buildings on a number of different occasions for different earthquakes.
"At this stage I can't give you a date but we do recognise that this is the issue that is holding up a large number of claims across Canterbury and we need to get it [resolved] as soon as we possibly can."
EQC had a few weeks ago sent a discussion paper to its reinsurers to help get them to agree to the "model approach", Simpson said.
Part of the problem was that often neither EQC nor the insurers had done detailed assessments after the different quakes.
The existing method of sorting out claims was to incorporate input from different data sources, but this was a lengthy process.
These sources included surrounding houses that had been assessed, insurers information and what the homeowner was saying to "piece together what the split between the earthquakes was, and then we have to agree that with the insurer".
A new approach of statistical apportionment to "move things forward far more quickly" would not override claims that had been settled, Simpson said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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