23 Oct 2015

Insurer says it will miss its claims deadline

8:08 pm on 23 October 2015

Christchurch insurer Southern Response is not going to meet its deadline for having 90 percent of all earthquake claims settled by the end of next year, the company says.

A Christchurch family is attempting to sue the EQC and their insurer, Southern Response.

Southern Response has pushed its target for claims settlement to 2017. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The claims settlement business was formed by the government to take over the liabilities of AMI policy holders when AMI folded following the earthquakes.

Southern Response said its new target was to have the majority of claims settled by the middle of 2017.

It was not saying exactly how many it aimed to have settled by that date.

The insurer blamed the complexity involved in settling claims for multi-unit dwellings, the complex nature of rebuilding on poor quality land and an increasing number of cases going over $100,000, at which point a claim is handed from EQC to the insurer.

Clients expressed frustration today at the company's annual meeting.

One customer, Ali Wilkinson, said she understood the complexity of the job confronting the company but she was still angry.

She said those who had complained and put pressure on Southern Response seemed to have jumped the queue ahead of people like her who had not made a fuss.

Ms Wilkinson said she and her family had been patiently living in their quake-damaged home until now, but the time for action was long overdue.

Almost five years on from the earthquakes, Southern Response has settled 65 percent of claims - together worth $1.7 billion.

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