Rush hour looms for EQC to settle all claims

The Earthquake Commission will have to work quickly if all claims are to be settled in South Canterbury before its own deadline.

While all claims are expected to be settled by the end of 2015, EQC still has 5862 to sort through.

A breakdown of that figure shows seven claims will have to be settled each working day between now and the end of 2015 if the target is to be met.

And only two EQC field staff are working here.

The Earthquake Commission says the two staff are part of an organisational structure of 1000 people who are working on settling all claims. Most of the work will be done by claims settlement staff based in Christchurch.

Figures reveal almost 9000 claims have been lodged in South Canterbury since September 2010.

And they are continuing to roll in with seven claims lodged this month.

A breakdown of figures shows 8110 claims in Timaru, 368 in Mackenzie and 560 in Waimate.

Of those, 3176 have been settled - totalling $13,137,490 in Timaru, $300,926 in Mackenzie and $470,247 in Waimate. It amounts to almost $14 million in settlements.

Most claims (4613) were made between September and December 2010. Since January, 589 claims have been lodged here. Claims declined number 1451.

A spokesperson says claims are typically declined because they fall outside the 90-day time limit, the insurance is invalid, they are duplicate claims for the same event or they might not qualify for cover under the EQC Act because the damage is not the result of a natural disaster.

Two readers who have lodged claims and do not want to be named have shared their concerns with The Herald .

One lodged a claim in January after the December 23, 2011, quake. Cracks appeared in the walls of her home and a toilet is broken. The lounge wall, door frames, bedroom walls and a supporting beam are damaged, she says.

"I wouldn't like another decent quake; I'm wondering when EQC is going to do something about it.

"All I've had is a letter to say the claim has been lodged."

The other lodged a claim after the February 22 quake in 2011.

She has contacted EQC three times since then and has been told her claim is on the waiting list.

To date, 459,325 claims have been received, 421,972 assessments completed, 24,884 completed home repairs and $3,829,884,441 paid.

The Timaru Herald