Insurance Council urges focus

1:30 pm on 6 August 2012

The Insurance Council is to urge all insurance companies to prioritise the elderly and the vulnerable when settling the claims of quake-affected residents.

The council and major insurers attended a forum in Christchurch on Friday where about 300 older residents demanded answers about their futures.

One of them, a Christchurch resident whose home was damaged in the earthquakes, has challenged the major insurance companies to provide answers to customers within 100 days.

Barry Harding called upon insurers to fast track answers so their customers could plan for the future.

"You've had 100 days to give us a CBD plan, all right, we'll give you 100 days to give us a plan,'' he said.

''You either give us a time when our homes will be repaired or give us an option to take the money and go somewhere where we can curl up in the sun for the few years that we've got left and enjoy what's left of our lives."

Mr Harding told the group that the way insurance was being handled was a national disaster and those present did not want to be fighting at their age.

Insurance Council chief executive Chris Ryan says while he cannot control time frames, he will ask insurers to focus on vulnerable customers.

Live in my house man tells insurers

A man whose quake-damaged inhome was deemed repairable earlier challenged representatives from his insurance company to come and live in it.

Mike Freeman told company representatives at the forum that four separate EQC assessments had determined that his home should be a rebuild.

He said his house had liquefaction and sewage through it and a technician had said it would need to be decontaminated to make it safe for demolition crews.

Yet Mr Freeman said insurance company IAG was still saying the house could be repaired.

Renee Walker from IAG apologised for the situation. She said the company was aware it had not done enough in some cases and she urged Mr Freeman to come and talk to her.

Other problems raised included the difficulties many residents had getting hold of their insurance companies and communicating their issues.