Saturday 20 October 2012

So far so good

Experiences at the tails of the distribution tend to get disproportionate weight because they're usually the stories worth telling. So here's my boring EQC story for balance.

After the September 2010 earthquakes, we saw an EQC adjuster (sometime early December) who said our house needed a new coat of paint inside and tightening up the weather boards outside. That seemed about right; we weren't in any big rush to get anything done.

After February 2011, we didn't see an EQC adjuster until June. The damage was far more substantial; the adjuster noted that the foundation and piles need re-levelling in addition to more substantial internal fixes. We made arrangements with Character Homes to handle our rebuild. The EQC procedures around specifying your own contractor rather than going with the one assigned by Fletcher's Project Management changed a few times. But, by July 2012, we had a Scope of Works document from EQC that would allow us to take the next step and have our contractor check whether EQC's specified Scope of Works seemed to match the job that needed to be done. We submitted Character Homes's revised Scope of Works in August 2012.

On 18 October, the EQC adjuster and Guy from Character Homes showed up at our place, went through the two Scope of Works documents, and agreed on the stuff that needed doing and how much it was likely to cost. Everything went pretty smoothly. In three or four weeks we're likely to get the works order from EQC that will let us sort out with our contractor when the work will be done; we're likely to be out of our house for 4-6 weeks' worth of repairs sometime between December and April. Our contractor seems pretty flexible on dates so we'll time things to match when we can find suitable rental accommodation, which ain't exactly easy in Christchurch these days. We'll have to empty the house as if we're moving out, so we'll have to sort out a couple of shipping containers and a place to put them. But, we should be able to get it done over the summer when I'm not teaching and the costs of disruption are lower.

EQC tells me we're likely to see an adjuster come by sometime in the next six months to a year to look at the land: there's a retaining wall that needs repairing. Our private insurer, AMI/Southern Response, tells us they'll be around sometime in the next couple of years to sort out our out-of-scope claims. What's out-of-scope? Things that aren't covered by EQC: a fence, some paths, and our swimming pool, the lining of which twisted and the bottom of which is now awfully uneven. I expect that if it takes two years to assess the damage to the pool liner, it's going to be in need of total replacement rather than minor repair: its having pulled away from the pool in a few spots isn't good for longevity, but that doesn't seem to be hurrying Southern Response. But at least they started answering my emails in the last month.

So, 20 months after the big quakes, it looks like our main repairs will be handled sometime in the next four months. It's taken a while to get there, but doing it earlier likely wouldn't have been a great idea - substantial risks of large aftershocks have only recently abated. Our house is comfortable and liveable while we await repairs. Filling the gaps between weatherboards before next winter should reduce our heating costs a bit.

Experiences vary considerably. Bill's not been having a great time. It's more confusing if you're in TC3 rather than TC2. The folks in Avoca Valley seem to have been being shafted. And we should put a lot of weight on the experiences of those most badly put upon by the bureaucracy. But not everywhere is doom.

I do hope they get moving on buying up, demolishing, and turning to parkland the houses around Bexley. The commute home through there gets more depressing every day as abandoned homes become burned-out houses, or graffiti-tagged and broken-windowed. Obligatory note for potential international students at Canterbury: Bexley is a half-hour away from Uni on the East side of town. Nothing like that on the West side near campus.


  1. Interesting.

    Over in Avonhead the driveways and to a lesser extent brick fences (out of scope) are being fixed up left, right and centre while signs of EQC home repairs are much less common.

    One of the houses down the road is a rebuild (the foundations has a slight lean) but the inhabitant reckons that at ninety, he's more likely to pop his clogs before the builders show up.

  2. Check out containers early Eric, they were as scarce as hen's back teeth for a while, I wouldn't be so sure that southern response will be even on the phone in a couple of years, much less thinking about 'out of scope' repairs , they can hardly cope now.
    I have one of the best earthquake refugee provisions for home in Christchurch but I come back November to do my own repairs. I simply can not be bothered with EQC or Fletcher sometime in 2016 sorry our scope of money is run out now, Nobody in NZ cares about you losers in Christchurch

  3. Lets say a new Insurance company called Northern response enters the market in NZ,, with a new underwriter from America, on the basis that the earthquake risk is highly reduced now, at least in Christchurch.
    But lets also see that existing Insurance companies are putting their premiums up exhorbitantly, and reducing cover, with longer pieces of paper they won't send you.
    Now the public gets on to this and switch over to Northern.
    Especially Aucklanders who don't want to pay for Christchurch
    Guess what happens next to the earlier Insurer, massive new costs to underwriter, loss of customers no end in site, no scope for works,

  4. Really? I've heard of rather a few folks with only cosmetic cracking who've had their paint jobs finished.

  5. This one's already solved. The government pulled all the #eqnz claims out of AMI, put them into a new company called Southern Response. Southern Response gets all of AMI's old reinsurance cover plus some bailout. AMI's existing client base now part of AIG for ongoing coverage.

  6. If Southern Response falls over, we might be out $10-$20k on out-of-scope repairs. Can eat it if we have to, though would strongly prefer not to. I see less chance of Southern Response failing though; they're basically government backed.

  7. EQR's busy out in Rolleston at the moment doing repainting and minor repairs - granted there appear to be very few major repair jobs out that way