Insurance firms set deadline for quake rebuild

10:41 am on 13 December 2012

Major insurance firms have set a three year deadline to repair and rebuild thousands of homes damaged by Christchurch's earthquakes, as they face growing criticism that the work could have been completed sooner.

One of the country's largest insurers, IAG, says its Christchurch staff will draw up a schedule of work by next Thursday.

It says it aims to complete all work on its 5000 Canterbury customers' homes by December 2015.

Insurers are rejecting criticism that they have been slow to settle, saying progress has been held up by continuous land shaking, the need for detailed land damage and geo-tech assessments and having to work with EQC on claims.

IAG, which owns AMI, NZI and State Insurance, also handles banks and Lantern insurance business.

IAG New Zealand's chief executive Jacki Johnson says now that the seismic activity is lessening, more building activity can happen.

She says it's a huge challenge for insurers to accelerate building activity and bring certainty to homeowners and when they will get their houses or buildings repaired.

Ms Johnson says it's important to work with households and establish what will work for them, as well as having the building and tradespeople aligned and ready to go.

"We've actually said to all our people that we expect every customer to have clarity on 20 December about where they are in terms of the rebuild programme ... that people will know whether they are a rebuild or a repair and which quarter of the year, over the next two years in particular, they will fall in terms of their repair and rebuild."

The Insurance Council says there are 20,000 properties with more than $100,000 worth of damage for which insurers will manage the repairs and rebuild costs.