Last chance to make Kaikoura quake claims

Ward resident Bryan Phipps surveys the damage to his home immediately following the November earthquake.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Ward resident Bryan Phipps surveys the damage to his home immediately following the November earthquake.

The deadline for people yet to lodge a claim with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) following the Kaikoura earthquake is fast approaching.

Almost 25,000 claims have been received by the EQC and no more will be accepted when the three month claim period expires on Tuesday.

EQC general manager customer and claims Trish Keith said the disaster was the second largest event that EQC has responded to after the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

The majority of the 24,602 claims were lodged in the Christchurch and Wellington districts, followed by Marlborough with 3500.

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About 1500 claims were lodged for Kaikoura, Keith said.

"EQC has settled around $11 million of claims at this early stage of what is New Zealand's second largest earthquake in recent times," she said.

"Almost 70 per cent of all claims are building claims, followed by building and contents, and contents only. Claims involving land damage account for 10 per cent at this stage.

"The Canterbury earthquakes were more localised but impacted on a large urban area. In contrast, the Kaikoura event covered a much larger area of the country overall, with a combination of rural and urban customers, so the number of claims being received will be much less but this is still a significant event."

People who had not already lodged a claim for damage incurred in the Kaikoura earthquake would not be able to do so after midnight on Tuesday.

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EQC led four public forums with private insurers in Ward, Kaikoura and Waiau to assist in the claims process, Keith said. 

Gail Phipps had her Ward home red-stickered and attended one of the meetings.

She said it had been helpful, but she would like to see the Tuesday deadline postponed to remove any possibility that someone could miss lodging their claim.

The future was still uncertain for Gail and her husband Bryan as they continued to live out of a converted garage following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

"We're still in limbo, where we'll be in six months we don't know," she said.

Claude Lane's home on Gulch Rd, Ward, was white-stickered despite the collapse of his chimney in the earthquake.

The damage was assessed by insurers on Thursday and Lane said he was happy overall with his treatment through the claims process.

"They've looked after me alright. I think some people get the claim wrong and that's where they have problems," he said.

"They've told everyone that the claims are about to close and people have had enough time to do it, they've had oodles of time."

Despite the deadline, Keith said EQC continued to work closely with other government agencies, territorial authorities, insurers and community groups to engage directly with residents.

 - Sunday Star Times

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