Too much criticism of Christchurch rebuild, says Vero

The company plans to have a reinstatement timeframe sent to every customer by the end of September.    

Vero says it is finalising the schedule for the repair and rebuilding of its Christchurch customers' properties.

The head of the Vero Insurance earthquake response, Jimmy Higgins, acknowledges consumer frustrations at lack of start dates for repairs and rebuilding.

Mr Higgins was speaking at the Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand Conference in Auckland today, and a copy of his speech was sent to journalists.

"There has been significant and creditable progress...,” he says.

"The area that could be improved is the ability of the key participants including insurers, CERA, the EQC, the government and the Christchurch City Council to fully co-operate in the recovery effort.

"There is still far too much public criticism by these groups about the performance or shortcomings of others involved in the recovery.

"That is making the task of clear and consistent communication about the true situation in Christchurch more difficult than it should be," he says.

Vero plans to have a reinstatement timeframe sent to every customer by the end of September.

The timeframes will range from a start date this year through to a start in 2014, and possibly the beginning of 2015.

“We will make every effort to reduce the timeframes of our customers who have the latest start dates.

“Disasters typically work in three-year cycles. The first year is characterised by customer, community and government criticism of the pace of the recovery, including insurer responses.

“The second year has less overt conflict and focuses on issues resolution and rebuilding.

"The need for collective rather than polarised positions amongst participants such as insurers, politicians, government agencies, local government and community groups begins to be more widely understood and accepted.

“The third year is mostly focused on claims completion, with the contentious issues being scheduling and quality of work.

“What this tells us is that soon we will reach the point in Christchurch where insurers, CERA, EQC, Government and others will understand the benefit of mutual respect and cooperation,” he says.

The new guidelines covering TC1, TC2 and TC3 areas were other examples of factors that had slowed the pace of recovery. There are about 30,000 TC3 sites in Christchurch.

The complexity of the TC3 situation debunks consistent myths, Mr Higgins told brokers.

“The first is that insurers have had two years to get moving on claims. That is simply not true in the case of TC3, one of the most contentious areas of the Christchurch recovery.

“The second myth is that there can be quick fixes or ways to speed up the reinstatement process.”