EQC denies payout freeze
Christchurch Earthquake 2011
The Earthquake Commission (EQC) says there is no freeze on maximum payments to green-blue zone homeowners despite some Christchurch residents claiming otherwise.
Residents living in areas classed by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) as technical category 3 (TC3), or green-blue, are considered to be on the most badly quake-damaged land able to be economically repaired.
The Department of Building and Housing (DBH) foundation designs for quake-damaged green-blue houses are due out next month, and all houses in the zone needing to be rebuilt or have foundation repairs must meet the new standards.
EQC customer services general manager Bruce Emson said the standards would affect how much money some claimants were entitled to, but the commission was still paying out the maximum entitlement of $100,000 to green-blue residents where possible.
"We are currently settling properties with foundation damage in TC3 where the property remains over cap regardless of foundation damage and it is clear that the claim will belong with the insurer irrespective of what happens with the foundation."
Apportionment - quake damage classed separately because it occurred over several events - could keep some houses, even writeoffs, under cap and delay payment, he said.
Several green-blue residents contacted The Press claiming their payments were being delayed for no reason.
Parklands couple Jackie and Barry Scott thought their maximum payout was confirmed in December but had been told it could not be made until the DBH guidelines were released.
Barry Scott was at a loss to see how the new guidelines would affect their EQC payout of $100,000.
"Our house is a complete rebuild, so how does [increased] foundation costs change anything?" he said.
Jackie Scott said she was "sick of waiting" while many of her neighbours had received payouts last year.
"They're not denying it's over cap [maximum], they're just saying that they've got to wait for this report to come out," she said.
Ferrymead-Brookhaven Residents' Association chairman David Stringer said 17 neighbours had contacted him frustrated at delays.
He was in the same position, he said, with a quake-damaged house that had been declared a rebuild and no reason for an EQC payment to be delayed.
"There's no valid reason for them to withhold the payment,'' he said.
"You ring up the settlements teams in Australia or Wellington and they tell you point-blank, 'No, you're not being paid until that [foundation design] work's been done'."
Last month, IAG Canterbury recovery executive manager Dean MacGregor told The Press he understood payments had stopped.
Any delay would not affect IAG's business as the company had not started work on TC3 properties, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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