Loss Adjusters make fun of serious issue

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 19/11/2012
The Loss Adjusters, left, in the Container Mall with Chloe Geoghegan, right, make a claim.
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ

FULLY FOCUSED: The Loss Adjusters, left, in the Container Mall with Chloe Geoghegan, right, make a claim.

Chloe Geoghegan's claim.
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
ACCEPTED: Chloe Geoghegan's claim.

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A dead rat, loss of sleep and a pen crushed by a television are among the insurance "claims" made following Christchurch's earthquakes.

The quirky claims were heard by The Loss Adjusters in the Re:Start mall on Friday.

The fictional group of "bureaucrats", created by four Dunedin artists, poke fun at the insurance claims process by turning the city's stories of loss into pieces of art.

About a dozen people went through the claims process on Friday, which began with the group's stenographer filling in a specially designed form.

An artist then drew sketches of the lost object and a photographer took a Polaroid image representing the story of loss, before the blindfolded "adjudicator" approved or declined the claim with a randomly selected stamp.

The claimant got to keep the form, sketch and photograph.

Curator Jamie Hanton said the project was a "light-hearted look at loss, satirising the process that a lot of people are going through" and the group hoped to turn the completed claims into a digital or print publication.

Friday's claims were varied, including one claimant who had "lost their faith in local Government", and another who claimed for their pet rat who died in the February 2011 quake.

"It was quite a vivid description the woman gave of her dead rat. They walked in and found it in rigor mortis, it's tail was stiff, straight up, so she knew something was wrong."

Jo Mair put in a claim for "loss of sleep", which began about three weeks after the first quake.

Mair was "materially unaffected" by the quakes, but "like a lot of people, quite emotionally affected".

"I wanted to . . . put something in that wasn't an object, something difficult to quantify and you can't actually insure for and see how that went through the process."

Her claim was declined.

"You didn't realise how invested you were in the outcome and how you actually wanted, I suppose, some agreement or acknowledgment of the loss."

The Loss Adjusters will be back in the Re:Start mall for two weeks from December 11 as part of Art Beat initiative, involving musicians, street artists and performers.

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