17 Dec 2013

Homeowners may have to wait 15 months for payouts

10:37 am on 17 December 2013

Homeowners whose properties were damaged in the Seddon earthquakes could be waiting until 2015 for their claims to be settled.

The Earthquake Commission has sent letters to those with claims still outstanding from the quakes, which struck in July and August and were centred in Cook Strait.

In the letter, it says it aims to have all claims settled by March 2015.

A farmer, David Newman, whose property was about half-a-kilometre from the epicentre of the quakes, says waiting until then would leave him heavily out of pocket.

His family have had to move into a rental property and he says their insurance company will only continue paying rent for another six months.

"It would probably get to the point where I would have to sell my property, because I couldn't afford to live and work my farm and rent another property at the same time, running the family with three young children," he said.

Earthquake Commission national customers and claims manager Gail Kettle says all claims will be assessed by March next year - but there is another year after that to fully settle all the claims.

She says the quakes gave rise to the second-largest number of claims ever seen by the commission, with about 12,000 claims.

Ms Kettle says about $2 million has been paid out so far, and she estimates the final payout could be about $50 million.