Why the long wait, Vero's customers ask

SAM SACHDEVA
Last updated 05:00 25/08/2012

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Christchurch customers of Vero have urged the insurer to explain why they could be waiting until 2015 for repairs to start on their quake-hit homes.

This week, Vero announced it would start repairs and rebuilding in Christchurch over three years, with some customers facing a potential start date in 2015.

The insurer said it was aiming to give all Christchurch claimants a timetable by the end of September, with the elderly and those with special health needs taking priority.

Vero customers said the insurer needed to be more upfront about the reasons for the long repair process.

Riccarton resident Carmel Jagger said she was not surprised by the lengthy timeframes, and believed it could be up to seven years before her Technical Category 3 (TC-3 or green/blue) property would be fully repaired.

"I was originally given two to three years, then they said three to four years, and the last time I spoke to them, they said it would be ‘multi-years' away.

"If I get started in 2015, you're looking at 2017, 2018 before I get the keys to the front door - that's just what it is."

Jagger said Vero's communication had been poor, and the insurer needed to be more upfront about how long the process would take for each homeowner.

"It's not knowing, that's the killer . . . if they can just be honest and be very, very clear with us about their response, we can at least know what our futures are."

Southshore TC-3 resident Bev Johnson said she was also frustrated with the lack of communication from Vero.

"They've got to tell us why it's taking so long."

Johnson said the timeframes were "appalling", and she believed it would take longer for customers like her with badly hit land.

"By the time anything happens with my house, I'll be too old to get any use from it."

Vero has 5000 residential claims, including 1270 TC-3 properties. Jimmy Higgins, leading Vero's earthquake recovery effort, said this week: "We will make every effort to reduce the timeframes of our customers who have the latest start dates."

It was the largest natural disaster Vero and New Zealand had been involved in, he said.

"It will be a protracted recovery. It does not have to be protracted and combative."

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