Insurers aim to speed up Kaikōura earthquake claims

8:57 am on 14 December 2016

Insurance companies are to take control of home and contents claims arising from the Kaikōura earthquakes in an agreement that should speed up their settlement.

Kaikoura earthquake, Mark Solomon's house is beyond repair.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The Insurance Council and the Earthquake Commission (EQC) have agreed that individual companies receive, assess, and settle claims resulting from the quake, regardless of whether they are under or over the cap. The EQC would continue to handle land damage claims.

The executive general manager of claims at Vero, Jimmy Higgins, said claims would now be processed more quickly.

He said the changed approach to handling claims from a natural disaster was a lesson learned from the Canterbury quakes.

Mr Higgins said any claims already lodged with EQC would automatically be passed on to the relevant insurance companies.

"The thing for us is that we're able to get in fairly quickly and so in the next few weeks we'll be getting in touch with customers who've already lodged claims, so we can get to better understand the nature of the claims."

The insured costs of the Kaikōura quakes has been roughly estimated by the Reserve Bank at between $3 and $8 billion, while the Treasury has estimated the government's direct costs as much as $3 billion.

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