Court ruling gives justice to homeowners - Parker

2:21 pm on 3 September 2011

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker says residents will be better able to repair their quake-damaged homes now that the High Court has ruled they can make EQC claims for multiple disasters.

All residential buildings and contents that have fire insurance are covered by the Earthquake Commission for up to $100,000 for the building and $20,000 for contents, plus GST.

The High Court has ruled homeowners can make claims for property damage, up to the maximum, for each natural disaster that causes damage. It means a homeowner claiming for both major quakes in Christchurch could get up to $200,000 for the building alone.

Mr Parker says that means people will be able to repair their homes as they had hoped.

"For many of the homeowners," he says, "there will be a feeling of a sense of justice around their rights to receive money in these situations.

"They've been paying on insurance policies, they regard that as a contract, and they will now feel that that contract has been honoured in the way that they expected."

Mr Parker says being able to claim for both quakes is a fair outcome, although no amount of money could cover other losses the city's people have suffered.

Decision gives clarity - Tower

Tower Insurance says the declaratory court ruling that EQC is liable for multiple disaster claims on one property has provided clarity for the industry.

Tower, which was among the companies involved in the hearing, says having clarity is important because the law relating to the commission has not been tested before.

Its managing director, Rob Flannagan, says: "The EQC had one position and we had a different position, so it was important to get it clarified through the courts.

"I think the EQC was the same as we are: we just wanted clarity on the way in which the law is to be interpreted."

Mr Flannagan says the judgment provides a level playing field for all insurance companies.