Vulnerable urged to come forward

Insurers are calling on sick, elderly and other vulnerable Christchurch residents to make themselves known as winter nears so their cases can be fast-tracked.

The Insurance Council is urging earthquake-hit residents most in need to tell their providers about their hardship.

Insurers use an index that considers age, children in the household, health issues, dependency on a carer and financial circumstances.

Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said it was crucial insurers knew about at-risk customers as the third post-quake winter set in.

Weather-proofing damaged houses was still an issue, he said.

''I'm aware that some people are worried about seeking help because they think if they get support like this that they will drop down the rebuild queue. That is not true. The key vulnerability factors that prioritise rebuilds and repairs remain in place."

He said mould in houses from liquefied soil underneath them was another problem.

''While the removal of liquefied soil is a land issue and therefore the responsibility of the Earthquake Commission, insurers will look at removing soil for over-cap homes and settle with EQC afterwards," Grafton said.

''These initiatives have been in place for many months and we encourage people to make use of them if they are in need.''

The Press