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Potter's labour now counted in quake payout

CALEB HARRIS
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2014

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A potter is smiling again after fearing January's earthquake would leave him close to $8000 out of pocket.

Paul Melser, who has supplied dishes to Wellington restaurants Floriditas, Matterhorn and Gypsy Kitchen, lost stock since valued at $8262 in the quake, centred near Eketahuna.

He said that when he phoned insurer State he was told it could compensate him only for "direct input costs" - in his case clay, gas and glaze - but nothing for his labour, artistic ability and professional experience, which he estimated at 85 per cent of the dishes' value.

State later contacted him to say this was a misunderstanding and he would, in fact, be paid for his labour. This week an independent assessor calculated his claim at $5800 - the full value of the goods, minus a $2000 excess and 5 per cent for depreciation and other excluded costs.

Melser, who works from his home in Norfolk Rd west of Carterton, was happy with the result.

"I thought the whole process turned out to be very fair."

He said he understood insurers were on guard against artists trying to fraudulently claim for more than an object was really worth, or deliberately damaging wares.

"But with a big excess like that there really isn't any incentive to fake any sort of a claim. It's just a minimal recompense for the loss, which is what insurance is supposed to be for."

He would keep his policy with State if the insurer accepted the assessor's advice.

State spokesman Craig Dowling said yesterday the company was disappointed there had been a misunderstanding but was also happy it had been able to progress Melser's claim.

"That was always our intent and it is our purpose and our desire to help all our customers, in line with their policy entitlements, when they face a loss."

Melser has not lodged a claim with the Earthquake Commission, as it covers residential property rather than businesses.

EQC assessment teams began inspections of claims relating to the January quake last week. Latest figures show 3436 claims.

The last day for filing a claim is April 22.

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- The Dominion Post

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