Vero aims for timetables by September

MARTA STEEMAN
Last updated 13:23 23/08/2012

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Some Vero clients in Christchurch may not have their repairs started until 2015, the insurer says.

Vero said today it would start repairs and rebuilding in Christchurch over three years, with some starting from this year through to start dates in 2014 and possibly 2015.

The elderly and those with special health needs will have priority.

Vero aims to give all its Christchurch claimants a timetable by the end of next month.

It has 19,000 claims, of which about 5000 are residential claims, including 1270 properties categorised technical category 3, which are properties vulnerable to moderate to severe liquefaction.

The big insurer, like several others, has come under fire from Christchurch residents for poor communication with customers and slowness.

Jimmy Higgins, who is leading Vero's earthquake recovery effort, said today at the Insurance Brokers Conference in Auckland that the company would make "every effort to reduce the time frames of our customers who have the latest start dates".

Vero was starting its own drilling on TC3 properties of its customers.

The Earthquake Commission was drilling on TC3 properties with claims under $100,000 plus GST, and its programme was area-wide and not every property.

Higgins indicated the conflict between various parties was damaging the recovery.

He called on the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera), the Christchurch City Council, the Government and the Earthquake Commission to stop criticising each other and the insurers and to pull together for solutions.

''There is still far too much public criticism by these groups about the performance or shortcomings of others involved in the industry.''

He said the Christchurch recovery was no quick fix.

It was the largest natural disaster Vero and New Zealand had been involved in and complicated by the series of five major earthquakes over 15 months that ended only last December.

''It will be a protracted recovery. It does not have to be protracted and combative,'' Higgins said.

It would take many months to gather the information from drilling that would be part of decisions on the extent of repairs or rebuilding of foundations on TC3 properties.

He was not saying insurers were not to blame for a poor perception by Christchurch people of insurers, but there was limited experience in the Government, its agencies, or the Christchurch City Council or within insurance companies in managing a disaster of the size Christchurch had suffered.

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