Up to 3000 EQC claims to wait until next year

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 01/08/2014

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A few thousand building claims will not be settled until next year, but complex land claims remain the biggest test for the Earthquake Commission (EQC), chief executive Ian Simpson says.

This week EQC said that it had completed 85 per cent of Canterbury building claims and paid out $6.8 billion in settlements.

EQC was working hard to complete its target of settling all building claims by the end of the year, but about 2000 to 3000 would spill over to next year, he said.

About 70,000 properties had a land claim and EQC had resolved 59 per cent of those.

About 12,000 "complex land claims" involving increased flood vulnerability (IFV) and increased liquefaction vulnerability (ILV) would require further engineering and valuation work before they would be settled, he said.

EQC has asked the High Court for a declaratory judgment to rule whether the way it wants to settle flooding claims - by using a loss of valuation system - is legal. A court date is set for late October.

"We're not expecting an answer before early 2015 and it's very hard to start settling those [claims] until we've got an answer." There was no way of solving IFV on a "site-by-site" basis, he said.

Simpson said EQC needed to investigate the possibility of "grouping that money" to be used for area-wide mitigation. "But that's difficult because say if there's 400 affected homeowners . . . we would want an agreement from all of them that their claims could be used for off-site work."

For properties at increased liquefaction risk, claims could start being settled this year, Simpson said.

Of the 169,000 claims on properties damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes between September 2010 and December 2011, EQC had resolved claims on 143,900 properties made up of:

58,000 property repairs through the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (CHRP).

63,400 properties that have been cash settled.

22,500 over-cap properties passed to private insurers.

There were 420,000 building claims across the events, with several claims lodged per property.

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- The Press

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