EQC apologises for falling behind deadline

CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 14:06 03/12/2013

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The Earthquake Commission has acknowledged that it will fall short of its 2013 completion target for the most damaged Canterbury homes.

The commission initially proclaimed that it would have the most damaged homes completed by the end of the year. However, EQC customer services general manager Bruce Emson said on current completion rates that target would not be met.

TARGET FOR $50K+ HOMES WAS JUNE 2013

When it was launched in December 2011, the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (CHRP) target for completing homes with more than $50,000 damage was June 2013. This was later revised to December 2013.

Emson said this this was based on a projection of 4500 claims over $50,000 damage.

As of November 1, there were 2654 homes with damage greater than $50,000 yet to have repairs begun. A further 8833 repairs were complete and 5749 were underway but not complete.

EQC DISAPPOINTED TO FAIL

Emson said that while more CHRP repairs of over $50,000 have been completed than were originally planned for, EQC was disappointed that it failed to deliver for customers in this category.

He said the commission has had to manage complexity such as TC3 foundations and flood risk changes which had an impact on the time it took to put a "workable strategy" in place.

"We've completed nearly 9000 claims with damage over $50,000, which is already more than we expected to deal with over the life of the programme, but unfortunately there are more still to do."

Most of the properties yet to be completed were multi-unit buildings, required complex engineering solutions to advance to repair, or were awaiting information about flood risk status, Emson said some were also on hold at the homeowners' request.

"Fletcher EQR will be contacting all those homeowners whose repairs are not going to begin by the target deadline to update them on progress."

UNRESERVED APOLOGY FROM EQC

He said he was "confident" that the overall programme was progressing as planned however acknowledged that was little comfort to those whose expectations EQC had failed to meet.

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"And for that I unreservedly apologise."

Emson said because of the urgent repairs offered by EQC, homes with over $50,000 damage awaiting repair should be safe, secure, sanitary and able to withstand the weather on a temporary basis. Anyone living in a home awaiting CHRP repairs where this is not the case should get in touch with EQC or Fletcher EQR, he said.

The news comes as insurer Southern Response acknowledged that it was unlikely to complete all its claims by its December 2016 deadline.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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