14 Oct 2016

Insurer's inaction a man-made disaster - Chch homeowner

9:34 pm on 14 October 2016

A lack of action from an insurer and not the Canterbury earthquakes is to blame for long-term damage to a Christchurch home, its owner says.

Architect Bob Burnett is part of a class action group yet to resolve claims with Southern Response.

The group argues the insurer systematically underestimated relevant costs and the scope of the work required on their homes as a result of the earthquakes.

They say the company, which was set up to settle outstanding AMI claims, has systematically short-changed them.

Repairs on Mr Burnett's home in the suburb of Huntsbury have still not been completed.

The architect told Checkpoint with John Campbell a decision to remove gib board and not replace it with bracing weakened the structure of his home, which has now been bent out of shape.

He said it had been heartbreaking to see his home, which he and his wife had poured their hearts and souls into, deteriorate.

The original cost to repair the home was put at about $180,000, but the insurance company was now offering Mr Burnett about $500,000, he said.

But he said because the house had been left for so long, it was now more likely to need to be rebuilt, which would cost roughly $1.5 million.

Mr Burnett said his insurer had done more damage to his home than had been done in the earthquakes.

Having weathered a natural disaster, Mr Burnett said he was now in the middle of a man-made disaster.

Southern Response told Checkpoint with John Campbell it was unable to respond without a privacy waiver from Mr Burnett, who had not provided it with one.

The 40 members of the class action group head to court next Wednesday.

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