Insurance hassles wear down Cantabrians

Many homes in Christchurch looks like this now (Photo Credit: Chris Hutching)

More Cantabrians are seeking help to resolve earthquake insurance claims.

Canterbury Insurance Assistance Service project facilitator Lorraine Guthrie says more focus and more funding is required to speed things up.

According to inquiries by NBR, there are still 13,900 repairs to be completed under EQC’s repair programme managed by Fletchers for properties with less than $100,000 damage.

Private insurers are managing another 9759 repairs or rebuilds worth more than $100,000, plus another 3084 settlements to be resolved.

Canterbury Insurance Assistance Service was commenting on the results of a Canterbury District Health Board research survey of 800 people, called the All Right project.

It reveals greater stress levels than two years ago as exhaustion over insurance wrangles sets in.

Mental health services have experienced a 35% surge of new patients since 2011 for psychiatric emergency services, and a 40% demand increase for child and youth community mental health services.

"Every month we see an average of 400 patients needing emergency psychiatric treatment," health board chief executive David Meates says.

He thinks they are the just tip of the iceberg.

There are significant differences in the wellbeing of Christchurch residents who have had their insurance claims settled and those who haven’t, according to the survey.

Canterbury Insurance Assistance Service is working with around 80 claimants currently using $200,000 in funding from the Christchurch City Council ($200,000).

Facilitator Ms Guthrie says the stress and strain after more than three years is very evident in the clients they work with.

They are overwhelmed by the information collated over the past few years to the point they can no longer make sense of it, and they are highly stressed and under increasing financial pressure.

She says family relationships are affected and many clients have lost trust and confidence “in virtually everyone.”

CIAS welcomes contact from homeowners via the website at www.cias.org.nz.

c.hutch@clear.net.nz

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