East city residents less happy with insurers

19:09, Sep 12 2012

Eastern Christchurch residents have filed more property insurance claims and are less happy with their providers' performance.

A Press survey of residents' opinions of their insurance companies has revealed the extent to which the worst earthquake damage hit the city's east.

Quake-hit residents deal with their private insurer only if their property damage exceeds $100,000 - the amount up to which the Earthquake Commission is liable for.

Thirty-seven per cent of Christchurch residents lodged a private insurance claim for quake damage to their property.

In the eastern ward of Burwood-Pegasus, the rate was 53 per cent. In Shirley-Papanui, 49 per cent of respondents put in a claim, and in Hagley-Ferrymead, 39 per cent did so.

In the west, 19 per cent of Riccarton-Wigram residents and 27 per cent of Fendalton-Waimairi residents filed a claim.


Areas with lower claim rates appeared to be more satisfied with their insurers.

Numbers were indicative only, but satisfaction levels in the western wards were comfortably over 50 per cent.

Burwood-Pegasus and Hagley-Ferrymead people were less happy, with 32 and 42 per cent respectively satisfied with their insurance company's performance.

Parklands TC3 Residents' Group spokeswoman Kiri Hider said the results were probably linked to TC3, or green-blue, homeowners who faced the most challenging recovery.

"You just have to look at a zoning map. Wherever there's green-blue there's going to be unhappiness," she said.

"If you looked at that correlation, I'd say it would go hand-in-hand with dissatisfaction.

"You've got insurance companies that blanketly put a hold on everything to do with TC3 for so long. That's where the dissatisfaction comes from."

Western Christchurch was "buoyed" by having fewer TC3 properties.

"We've got members on our board from Riccarton and Fendalton who are deeply dissatisfied, but they don't have the huge numbers we have in the east," she said.

"I think it's very easy if you look from an outside point of view and think maybe . . . everyone is whingeing, but when you're living this, and people are living on top of [silt] that's got sewage through it and their children are constantly sick, it's not that easy to say, ‘Let's be patient'."

Satisfaction was also closely linked to claim settlement.

Of those who filed a claim, 16 per cent had settled with their insurer. Among this number, 88 per cent said they were satisfied with their insurer's performance.

Just 38 per cent of claimants yet to settle felt the same way, and of those who did not, 19 per cent were "extremely" dissatisfied with their insurer.

The Press