Christchurch council backs quake insurance tribunal

6:12 pm on 14 July 2012

Frustrated Christchurch residents are applauding the city council's unanimous decision to request an insurance service be established to speed up earthquake-related claims.

Councillor Glenn Livingstone put a motion to the council on Thursday asking it to write to Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman to set up an insurance tribunal and advocacy service.

Before councillors voted at the meeting, a group of home owners struggling with delays in their claims made an emotional plea to the council to support the motion.

A member of the group broke down in tears while describing the uncertainty she faces, while another asked councillors whether they wanted to be a part of the problem or the solution.

Group spokesperson Carmel Jaggar says she is extremely pleased with the decision and hopes Mr Brownlee will listen and establish the desperately-needed services.

Another group member, Maria Thackwell, says the decision is a major show of support.

"People feel so abandoned and so lost and I think emotionally, maybe that will give them the strength to fight a little bit more - because people have just about had it."

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker says insurers are keeping their cards too close to their chest.

Mr Parker says making sure there is an effective insurance market in the city is one of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's responsibilities, however, he says it seems they are not fulfilling it at the moment.