16 Jun 2016

EQC to settle over liquefaction in 'world first'

1:25 pm on 16 June 2016

The Earthquake Commission has started settling 4000 claims for increased liquefaction vulnerability (ILV).

The commission has identified customers whose properties qualified as having an increased vulnerability to liquefaction following the 2010-2011 earthquakes.

Roads have been affected by liquefaction.

Parts of Christchurch looked like mud baths following the 2010 and 2011 quakes, which caused severe liquefaction. Photo: RNZ / Timothy Kelleher

It identified those who qualify through GNS reports, geotechnical drilling and by monitoring the groundwater.

The commission's head of land settlements Keith Land said each qualified property was being assessed and would be cash settled on a case by case basis.

"Similar to increased flooding vulnerability (IFV), settlement of ILV is a world first.

"This type of land damage has not been covered by insurance anywhere else so considerable work was required to get the engineering and valuation methodologies right, which included a direction sought from a High Court Declaratory Judgement," Mr Land said.

He expected at least two thirds of ILV customers would receive settlements based on the reduction in their properties' market value.

"This is because generally there are no available ground improvement methods to address the increase in liquefaction vulnerability," Mr Land said.

Liquefaction following Friday's quake.

Liquefaction following the December, 2011 quake. Photo: RNZ / Bridget Mills

EQC expected the remaining third to be settled based on the coast to repair the ILV land damage.

Mr Land said this will be when a house has already been or will be rebuilt or removed due to the earthquake damage.

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