Insurer boss gives pledge to claimants
MARC GREENHILL AND JODY O'CALLAGHAN
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Eighty-six-year-old Geoff Mardon is running out of time to see his insurance policy honoured and his Parklands home repaired.
The Christchurch homeowner was among more than 100 customers of Southern Response, a Crown-owned company set up to handle AMI claims, who yesterday staged a protest outside the insurer's Addington office.
Mardon and his wife, Val, 78, have been promised several dates for the more than $270,000 repairs to start, only to be put off despite promises they would be bumped up the list due to their age and poor health.
Plenty of staff came to their home with clipboards and drills, "but then they would take off and we would never see them again", Geoff Mardon said.
"We just want to know, are they going to rebuild it or knock it down or what?
"At 86, I mean how far ahead can you wait?"
The couple had to be dug out of liquefaction three times by the Student Volunteer Army, there were various cracks in the floors, and "doors that open and shut by themselves".
The couple paid $4000 for cosmetic repairs after the September 2010 quake, before they knew about EQC.
He described his three-year experiences with Southern Response as "hopeless".
"We just want to be treated fairly. We're not asking for any more than what we're entitled to, so please get on with it."
The latest repair start date they were given was next month but he did not believe it.
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Protester and Cashmere resident Sarah Marwick took the chance yesterday to ask Southern Response chief executive Peter Rose a tough question.
Her Cashmere home has been deemed unsafe by an engineer but she has been waiting for Southern Response to confirm whether it is a repair or rebuild.
Marwick confronted Rose at the protest and asked if he was a father.
"He said he was, and I asked whether he would have his children living in an unsafe house. He didn't answer that."
The double-brick house was built with no frame and the foundations were "shot", she said.
"I have been expressing that concern for months."
It had been in the repair queue until last week, when a structural engineering report recommended it be rebuilt.
"All I want is a decision and a fair value as per policy. That's all we're asking for," Marwick said.
Rose accepted protest organiser Steve Gurney's challenge to front again on December 16 with answers to the individual cases presented. He said staff would deal with the cases presented and "ascertain what our position is".
"If they're resolvable, we'd be delighted to resolve them," Rose said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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