Business extension to EQC cover wanted

12:00 pm on 6 January 2012

A group of commercial property owners in Christchurch want the Government to extend the EQC cover offered to homeowners, to businesses as well.

Without it, they say they will be forced to flee the city to avoid paying increases in insurance excess, which in some cases are as much as 100 times higher than before the earthquakes.

CORE (City Owners Rebuild Entity) says the increase in the amount of excess they will need to pay is turning property into a liability rather than an asset.

Central city property owner Alan Slade says in some cases the extra cost is forcing owners to bowl perfectly good buildings and to reinvest their insurance payment outside Christchurch, where insurance is not as expensive.

Without cover, Mr Slade says it will be impossible for owners to secure finance from the bank and there's a risk Christchurch will become a ghost town.

He says businesses would happily pay higher premiums than those paid by residential customers under an EQC type scheme, if it meant they do not have to pay the crippling amount of excess now demanded by insurance companies.