Rockfall-threatened homes covered

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 07:20 03/12/2012

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Christchurch homeowners barred from living in their largely undamaged rockfall- threatened houses are set to get full replacement insurance payouts.

Insurer IAG has sought legal advice that suggested more than 100 Port Hills customers could be eligible for full replacement if their red-zoned homes were subject to a Christchurch City Council-issued section 124 notice, which prohibited entry because of life-risk, that could not be lifted.

Other insurers were now considering the issue, but there are claims the move is unfair on other earthquake- hit home owners.

IAG customers in red- zoned properties without S124 notices were not eligible. Further information was being sought for green-zoned properties with S124 notices.

IAG spokesman Phil Barclay said claims would be assessed individually.

Red-zoned customers considering a crown offer should hold off on settling and the company would work with those who had accepted one already, he said.

"The advice IAG has received is that where these dangers cannot be effectively addressed and the S124 notice can not be removed, it permanently deprives those customers of the use of their properties.

"IAG understands that some notices and zonings have been challenged and expects some S124 notices may still be removed, and that the properties subject to S124 notices may still change, ie potentially some added, some removed."

The council had been asked to supply geotechnical information to confirm the danger could not be adequately addressed, he said.

On flat land, insurers refused to replace repairable homes in areas written off by the Government, meaning many owners have to accept 2007 rateable valuations for their house and land as compensation.

Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson said she believed IAG's stance was unfair.

In April, IAG stopped temporary accommodation payments to customers unable to live in their homes because of S124 notices, if the house was not damaged.

The company had been paying the allowance regardless of condition.

"For me, it's made even worse by the fact that IAG was the only insurance company that refused to pay these very same people the accommodation allowance [after April]," Dyson said.

"Now, they're suddenly saying, 'We're going to pay you totally different to your next-door neighbour who doesn't have a section 124, let alone the flat-land people'.

'The earthquake has caused a situation that has meant people can no longer live in their homes. Whether it's because of the quality of the land or the risk of rockfall or cliff collapse, the outcome is the same."

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- The Press

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