'EQC not running out of money'
"We are simply being dangled on the line of convenience at the mercy of an industry based purely on self-interest."Featured comment
EQC is not running out of money.
That was one of the messages today from EQC chief executive Ian Simpson and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.
Mr Simpson says EQC is “far from broke”. It had called on $3 billion from its natural disaster fund, would call on $4 billion from reinsurers and could call on another $1 billion if necessary from the government underwriting guarantee.
Raising the compulsory insurance disaster levy to 15c in the dollar meant that EQC would build up reserves to about $6 billion again in the next 30 years, Mr Simpson says.
The pair gave more assurances about the speed of Christchurch’s rebuild at a media conference at the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority headquarters.
Earlier in the week NBR ONLINE sent Mr Simpson a series of questions about why the insurance settlement process was taking so long.
Journalists echoed those queries at the media conference today.
The full answers will be published in the NBR print edition tomorrow.
Today, Mr Simpson revealed some of this information to describe how busy EQC has been and the volume of work under way.
But he acknowledged that finalising all settlements could still be nine months away – and that only involves EQC’s part in the process.
Following EQC’s settlement, reinsurers will then process the claims or part claims where “apportionment” is an issue – the part that EQC pays and the portion that insurers pay.
Only after the claims are finally processed will the most affected homeowners be placed in the Fletcher queue for repairs.
Messrs Brownlee and Simpson confirmed that few major repairs were complete, with most of the work so far on painting, plastering and other non-structural work.
Mr Brownlee was bullish about the work “ramping up”.
He also said it was unacceptable for insurers to claim they were awaiting geotechnical report. They already had them via EQC.
The minister expressed frustration that reinsurers were telling him they were awaiting information from insurers, and insurers were saying they still needed confirmation from reinsurers.