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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Making your house warmer

The Community Energy Action charitable trust has a website with advice about energy use, making houses warm and healthy.

There is a page dedicated to earthquake damaged houses with information on:
  • Insulation and your EQC claim/repairs
  • Taking advantage of earthquake repairs to make your home warmer
  • Staying warm in a quake damaged house or temporary rental property
  • How to get more information
and some practical suggestions for weather proofing stuff you can do yourself. The page is here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Finding sections to build on in the greater Christchurch region

If you are thinking of devoting some of Easter to looking for a place to build, the Press has a web page that can help.

Using a map of the greater Christchurch area, you click on the button for the area you want, and are taken to information on subdivisions underway in that area. Click on the name of the subdivision and information about section numbers, sizes, and prices will pop up. The page is here.

When visiting subdivisions don't forget to check out the conditions that apply to the sections - size, design and colour of the house, restrictions on animals and the age of your car, where you can have your barbecue, and what trees and shrubs are permitted.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Release of Cabinet Papers - Green zoning for Banks Peninsula

CERA have released the October 14 2011 Cabinet Paper covering the decision to zone Banks Peninsula Green.

It can be downloaded from here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Relocating Red Zone houses

Roger Sutton's weekly Update released yesterday contains the following interesting snippet (at the end of the 7th paragraph) on Red Zone houses:
"CERA is looking into the possibility of relocating relatively undamaged red zone houses in cases where Government offers are accepted."
 If you are interested it would pay to give CERA a call on 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372) and ask how they are getting on with the idea. The Update is here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lessons from Christchurch - how reinsurers are being hurt by health and safety concerns

An article Lessons from Christchurch about how reinsurers are being hurt by health and safety concerns has been written by Marcus Johnson. Johnson is a long time underwriting member of Lloyd's, and Chief Executive of Financial and Insurance Advisers, NW Brown. The article arises from a visit he made to Christchurch.

The second paragraph sets the tone of the article:
"In this article he suggests that reinsurers need to exercise better controls over major claims in developed economies due to a systematic tendency for government action to inflate economic losses which then become reinsurance losses through the back door. His example is Christchurch but exactly the same problem is evident with the Fukushima event where exclusion zones and consequential losses have been inflated far beyond all reasonable levels by a zero tolerance approach to risk rather than an economic one."
A bit short in the fact department Johnson is long on emotional concern, and fanciful with the use of numbers, to demonstrate how re-insurers are losing money due to the heavy over-emphasis on health and safety. Based upon the Christchurch experience his proposed planned emergency response for a national emergency in London, developed late in the article, is for a local dictatorship approach for the duration of the emergency.

For the future in general, Johnson's view is to
  • change policy wordings so that re-insurers take control of the rebuild processes
  • be prepared for a PR budget
  • plan to engage in the political debate on the side of those whose policies will keep down the cost of reconstruction
"The argument for cost minimisation and for the fastest possible restoration of normal business is just not heard, and yet it is vital for re-insurers that it is. A few million dollars spend on establishing a press office and an information databank for local press would yield huge return. It should be a natural response to any catastrophe."
What voice or contractual rights would the insured have? Considering the under-developed journalism skills displayed in most NZ media, free handouts would be accepted, published and promoted unquestioningly.

This is the summary for the article:
"Stephen Fry has been quoted as saying, 'Health and Safety are the two most dangerous words in the English language', and the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake is a mournful illustration of the truth of his words.
In summary, the dreadful devastation of the 'Act of God' has cost much in terms of loss of life and property, but this loss is dwarfed by the terrible delays, confusion and extra expense caused by the consequential manmade losses. Confusion causes cost and the extra resource devoted to resolving the conflicting views of several well-meaning, well qualified and well-staffed agencies, all of whom have the best intentions, will have cost more in terms of cash and lives than the original event. Delay in returning Christchurch to the vibrant functioning business hub it should be is not an 'Act of God', it is a result of man's devotion to the flawed false 'God of Health and Safety'.
Below I give a very brief description of the physical losses, then describe how those two fatal words, 'Health and Safety', have effectively stymied our response to the losses, explain why, although we cannot say who the victims are, the loss of revenue to government alone has almost certainly cost more lives than the earthquake ever did and then, lastly, ask what reinsurance industry should learn from the Canterbury experience.
A long read but worth the effort if disaster planning and national sovereignty are important to you. The article, published on the 19th of March on the NW Brown website, is here.