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Thursday, March 10, 2011

'Every house will be checked'

Personal note: Ours was checked over a week ago?  Might be why Sumner isn't listed below.  We have a green sticker, with minor structural damage and cosmetic damage; our neighbour has a yellow sticker, and probably 6-8 houses within 80m of us have red stickers.

Christchurch earthquake: 'Every house will be checked'

Last updated 11:52 11/03/2011

Earthquake Commission engineers will assess every house in the Christchurch metropolitan area and Lyttelton within the next two months.

At a Civil Defence briefing in Christchurch this morning Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee said they were expecting up to 300,000 total claims, though individual claims would be well above that.

The EQC staff, numbering 1200 in total - though not all would be involved in inspections - would carry out 15 to 30 minute assessments before dividing the houses into four categories including urgent, those needing to be revisited for a full assessment within four months, four to six months and six to nine months.

The Rapid Assessments Programme was designed to give home owners information as soon as possible, he added.

Brownlee said the only other insurer they were aware of that had dealt with such a volume of claims was State Farm which dealt with 400,000 claims after Hurricane Katrina. They had 64,000 staff, he said.

EQC chief executive Ian Simpson said lessons learnt following the September quake were behind the revision.

"This new approach will give people more certainty faster."

Houses with severe structural damage will be revisited for a full assessment within four months. Those needing repairs totalling more than $100,000 will then be passed on to the home owners insurance company.

Houses with minor structural damage will be revisited within four to six months and those with no structural damage within six to nine months.

Starting today, assessors will visit the worst-hit areas including Avondale, Wainoni, Bexley, Aranui, Avonside, Bromley, North Linwood, Mt Pleasant and Redcliffs.

From Monday they will visit Westhaven, Shirley, New Brighton, Dallington, Woolston, Richmond, Phillipstown, Linwood and Ferrymead.

"We know how desperately people need to know where they stand," Simpson said.

"And we'll draw on all the resources that we can to ensure we are as fast and efficient as possible."

Mr Brownlee said the process will take "some time" and it was important to prioritise the houses with the most need.

A full assessment could take up to five hours and some homeowners could be "in limbo for several months" without the new assessment process.

Homeowners did not need to be home for the rapid assessment, with a note to be left for them outlining which category they fell into.

They also do not have to have lodged a claim yet though only those homes which were insured and had lodged a claim would receive a full assessment.

Homes which needed to be weather-tightened or secured or which were unsanitary would be the highest priority.

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