Insurers, EQC urged to settle drilling impasse

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 10:26 20/09/2012

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Insurance companies and the Earthquake Commission have been urged to "stop mucking around" after talks on collaborative drilling broke down.

The two groups have been negotiating for months about working together on geotechnical drilling of over-cap Christchurch properties.

Technical category 3 property owners need to have their land assessed to determine what repairs are needed and if new foundations need to be designed.

The EQC is responsible for drilling under-cap TC3 properties - those with less than $100,000 damage.

Parklands TC3 Residents' Group spokeswoman Kiri Hider said the commission should never have got involved in over-cap drilling.

"It's how it always should have been, that over-cap was in the arms of private insurers. It should never have been with EQC," she said.

"Let's stop mucking around and start some serious drilling."

Hider had been critical of the confusion the talks had created, with residents unsure who to speak to and getting conflicting messages from the commission and their insurer.

IAG Canterbury recovery executive manager Dean MacGregor said EQC-insurer co-operation was worth investigating, despite it falling outside the commission's mandate, but "maybe it took a little longer than it should have".

How collaborative drilling would be managed was a sticking point, MacGregor said.

"One of the issues we had was we wanted to prioritise our customers.

"We want customers whose homes are uninhabitable, the elderly or people that have other stresses in their life to be a priority," he said.

"If we are committed to a collaborative programme, that [priority] may not necessarily fit with a geographic- type system."

Drilling density was also a problem, MacGregor said, and insurers might have had to redrill some areas the EQC had covered.

"We were getting some initial feedback . . . the density was not coming up.

"They were still having to drill quite a high proportion of the sites," he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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