Quake claimants take the cash

MARTA STEEMAN
Last updated 08:58 05/02/2014
Builder, new house, generic
Kirk Hargreaves

NEW BUILD: Many are choosing to spend their cash on a new home.

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Data gathered by the Insurance Council shows about half of the 24,660 over-$100,000 earthquake residential claims in Canterbury are likely to be settled with cash.

The data shows insurers estimate that 12,340 will have an "external resolution" that is either a cash settlement or the insurance company will fund the buying of another house.

Of the 24,660 overcap claims, about 7000 are in the red zone where the option was a cash settlement with which many claimants bought existing properties.

Insurers estimate that by the end of 2015 they will have finished claims where cash is the settlement chosen.

Many of the rebuilds and repairs being managed by insurers will take place this year and next.

The insurers estimate they will manage the building of 2170 houses and 3020 house repairs this year while 1840 claims will be settled with cash.

By next year insurers estimate they will build a total of 1490 houses and repair 2060 and cash settle 530 claims.

The Insurance Council, representing insurers, expects most of those who have cash settled would be likely to choose to manage their own repairs or rebuild in the future.

Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said he thought cash-settled customers were more likely to go on to build than buy an existing house. Modern homes had a lot to recommend them.

Grafton said the value of rebuilding or repairing the 24,660 would not be known until final costs were paid out.

The Press recently asked four of the large insurers plus Southern Response - the crown company managing the claims of AMI - for information on how many repairs and rebuilds were completed last year, the value of those, how many were targeted for completion this year as well as the percentage of customers taking cash.

Some companies were not prepared to give monetary values, citing commercial sensitivity of the information.

Vero said a number of customers taking cash were choosing to manage their own rebuilds and repairs so they could make additional changes or rebuild.

Vero planned to have most customers with a plan by the end of this year.

Rebuilds and repairs managed by Vero would continue into next year.

IAG said it expected the percentages of customers opting for cash settlements as opposed to IAG-managed repairs and rebuilds to even out as many customers planning on taking cash would have done so by now.

Tower said it had observed a trend towards cash settlements which provided customers with certainty and flexibility.

The data below shows the clear trend towards cash settlements.

IAG

2835 customers have settled, with 57 per cent cash-settling, 24 per cent buying an existing house and 19 per cent having repairs or rebuild managed by IAG.

Completed 335 new homes builds and 208 repairs last year at a cost of about $200m.

Reinstated about 5000 paths and driveways and cash-settled a further 4671 last year.

Aiming for 738 new builds and 949 major repairs - in total 1687- to be completed in this year.

Expects to spend up to $600m this year on those repairs and rebuilds.

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Another 1500 repairs and rebuilds to go.

Already settled $1.055b.

To settle, $1.6b. of residential claims.

VERO

Last year Vero paid $230m on residential claims.

It expects to pay $220m on residential claims this year.

48 per cent of repairs and rebuilds settled have been done with cash.

60 per cent of residential claims have been resolved, meaning the customer has made a decision on the option for settlement they favour.

Aims to have the remaining 40 per cent this year resolved.

LUMLEY

About 60 per cent of residential claims have been settled.

57 per cent of them were cash-settled.

Last year, Lumley completed 70 repairs and 38 rebuilds.

Last year, Lumley customers managed 354 repairs and rebuilds.

It expects to complete 202 repairs and 209 rebuilds this year.

TOWER

Settled 71 per cent by volume of all house claims.

Of those, 89 per cent of rebuilds and 76 per cent of repairs were settled with cash.

Completed 49 new houses and 78 repairs in 2013.

Expects to complete 200 new homes and more than 300 repairs this year..

SOUTHERN RESPONSE

2730 settlements completed so far, many from the red zone.

That included 547 cash settlements and 372 customer managed rebuilds.

Southern Response has managed and completed 291 repairs and rebuilds at a cost of $95m so far.

This year it forecasts to manage 630 repairs and 460 rebuilds at cost of up to $350m.

Completed 40 per cent of claims.

559 cash settlements in progress.

348 new builds under construction.

2298 claims in various stages of assessment and planning.

- The Press

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