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Opinion: Cam Preston sees the Christchurch residential rebuild as a marathon that's nearing halfway - and the 'wall'

Opinion: Cam Preston sees the Christchurch residential rebuild as a marathon that's nearing halfway - and the 'wall'

By Cameron Preston*

Its official: we are approaching halfway.

The insurance industry have now settled 44% of 'over EQC cap' claims (the highest cost reinstatements).

The issue is – we have reached the point in the race where early bolters will start to tire.

Let’s look at the progress of fully settled claims using Southern Response (who are not permitted by Government to settle claims any slower than the rest of the industry) as the best-case bellwether.

The graphs below separate out Red Zone and Non Red Zone claimants’ decisions (left bar) with their settlement status (right bar):

While 'Red Zone' cash settlements are just about complete – insurers are about to hit the wall outside of the 'Red Zone'.

Residents outside the 'Red Zone' with homes to live in (albeit broken) patiently wait for fulfilment of their policies without the pressure of being moved off their land.

Increasingly many are returning cash offers sent to them by insurers that hoped they would simply go away.

They want their properties rebuilt or repaired – not the cash.

Compounding this is the increasing number of 'over EQC cap' claims arriving from EQC every month as they target a December 2014 deadline for the completion all remaining EQC claims.

The insurance industry’s difficulty in rebuilding or repairing properties is worrying – only 809 rebuilt and 872 repaired homes in 3 ½ years (that’s the whole industry – not just Southern Response).

Cynics might suggest this is a deliberate tactic to delay and therein force homeowners to change their settlement elections to 'cash'.

So soon we hit the halfway point in the marathon.

If you have every run a marathon – you will know the second half is not anywhere as easy as the first.

Especially when you hit the wall before halfway. 


Cameron Preston is a Christchurch homeowner who has longstanding unresolved quake insurance claims.

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in our badly damaged suburb way less than half of the overcap repairs have begun. try maybe 10%. and with respect to eqc being finished by the end of the year, our bach has a small amount of damage - maybe $30k. EQC sent us a cheque for $3k and closed our file. despite calling and emailing them weekly for about 5 months, they would not respond to acknowledge dispute. finally got MP involved, they told her to tell us we had to prove that the unscoped damage - eg chimney falling down and taking most of wall with it - was eq related. 

so - take their end of year target with a grain of salt too.