Council waiting on insurance money

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 13:52 01/11/2012
AMI Stadium October 17
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
WAITING: The former AMI Stadium in Phillipstown has not been repaired.

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The Christchurch City Council has claimed more than $557 million for earthquake damage from its insurers but has received only about three-quarters of the money, previously confidential figures show.

The council has largely kept details of its insurance claims out of the public domain, but at the urging of councillors it has released a report outlining the status of its claims.

The previously confidential report, which will be considered by the council's corporate and financial committee today, shows the council has so far claimed $557.4m from its insurers, and it has been paid $407.5m.

A breakdown of the figures show it has received the bulk of the insurance claimed on below-ground infrastructure, but it is still waiting for its insurers to pay most of the money claimed for damage to above-ground infrastructure.

It has claimed $13.5m for damage to the Christchurch wastewater-treatment plant but has so far received less than $2m.

For the damage to its top 10 assets, including AMI Stadium in Phillipstown, the Christchurch Art Gallery and the Christchurch Convention Centre, it has claimed just over $86m and received payments of $60m.

Council corporate finance manager Diane Brandish, who wrote the report, said the council and its insurers had agreed the cost of like-for-like reinstatement of several of the top 10 facilities exceeded the sum insured, plus the 10 per cent margin built into the policy.

Investigations were continuing on the remaining assets to establish repair costs to agree a position with insurers, Brandish said.

The impact of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan on the council's insurance position the top 10 facilities was also being investigated.

The Centennial Pool, the Central Library and the Manchester St parking building are included in the council's list of top 10 assets and all fall within the new central-city frame or within an area designated for an anchor project in the recovery plan.

Cr Tim Carter, who has pushed for the council to be more open about its insurance position, welcomed the release of the report.

"It's up to the public to draw their own conclusions, but it is very clear to me that our insurance levels were woefully inadequate," he said.

Questions needed to be asked on why that was and what process the council had used in deciding what value to place on its assets for insurance purposes.

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Carter said the time it was taking to quantify the likely payout on damaged facilities and to reach settlements with the insurers was concerning.

"We need to get on and repair and rebuild these facilities. The slow insurance negotiations and settlements will hold up the work and add an ongoing burden to ratepayers," he said.

- The Press

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