Another six-month wait for November earthquake claimants
New Zealand's biggest insurer will take another six months to assess all home and contents claims from the November earthquakes.
Insurer IAG, which owns the State, AMI, Lumley, and NZI brands, has told customers that assessments will not be finished until mid-December. The magnitude-7.8 quake on November 14 was centred in the Kaikoura and Hurunui districts.
IAG has received more than 6000 claims from the quake in Canterbury alone. It has hired claim management company Gallagher Bassett to conduct on-site assessments of customers' properties.
Like other private insurers, IAG came to an agreement with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) to assess and settle all home and contents claims from the tremor regardless of size. Usually EQC assess natural-disaster claims first, before referring those exceeding its $100,000 cap to insurers.
* Cost of November earthquakes estimated at half a billion dollars
* Small town homeowners under-insured for Kaikoura quake rebuilds
* Reinsurers 'might want to re-negotiate' in aftermath of Kaikoura
IAG's general manager of disaster recover Annette Purvis has now contacted claimants directly, saying the company was working as fast as it could.
"However, due to the volume it will be mid-December 2017 before these assessments will be complete," she said in an email.
"We're prioritising how we assess and settle these claims based on what we know about the damage to the home and/or contents, and the age and health of those living in the home."
The firm said it wanted to hear from anyone with extra information to help them prioritise claims.
The Insurance Council has estimated that 90 per cent of all residential claims would be under the $100,000 EQC cap. EQC would meet the cost of settling those claims and its share of bigger claims. It is also handling claims for land damage.
The majority of the 38,000 claims lodged by the three-month deadline for the November shake were for building damage only. Christchurch, Wellington, North Canterbury and Marlborough were the top locations for claims.
Insurance company Youi, which received only 106 claims from the November earthquakes, said it had completed all assessments of claims, except for a handful where technical reports were still being completed.