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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Communicating Earthquake-related Science

The following is from the latest CanCERN newsletter.

We have been asked to promote this survey to interested participants. The project, Communicating Earthquake-related Science, is being undertaken as part of the requirements for a University of Otago PhD.

The survey looks at how aspects of earthquake-related disasters, and ways of minimising them, are being communicated in the mass media and whether this is serving people’s information needs.

The questions asked of participants relate to their opinions about how earthquake-related information, and how to minimise disasters, is communicated. Click here for the information sheet about the survey and here to follow the link to the survey.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

More changes to the EQC FAQ on TC3 and the drilling programme

EQC have changed their TC3 Drilling Plan FAQ (here) by adding more text and altering the schedules for the start and finish of drilling in various suburbs.

The latest timetable changes indicate completion dates have been extended out for many suburbs.

Also added is a small amount of information on the repair timeframe. For those sitting very close to the cap the underlined the words may be relevant to your situation.

Repair timeframe: Once drilling results are analysed and a repair method agreed your EQC claim may exceed the maximum EQC entitlement. If this occurs you will be “paid the cap” and your repair/rebuild will be managed by your private insurer.

If your claim remains under the EQC cap your home will be repaired within the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (managed by Fletcher EQR).  The Canterbury Home Repair Programme commits to repair of all homes with damage between $50,000 and $100,000 in value by December 2013 and all homes with damage between $15,000 and $50,000 by the end of 2015.

There is also a small section on  foundation repairs:

Repairing foundations

The repair or rebuild of your foundations must meet Building and Housing standards guidelines and may require a building consent. A structural engineer will design your home's foundations if a building consent is required. This work comes under your building claim.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Save our Schools rally – Saturday 22nd at 12 noon.

Mike Hawker is organising a rally for this Saturday to protest the recently announced school closures and amalgamations. The following is from one of the flyers.

 

JOIN THE FIGHT

Public Rally

Saturday 22nd Sept at 12 noon

Hagley Netball Courts

Bring your signs, your families, your community, your spirit and show Hekia Parata, Gerry Brownlee and the John Key National led Govt we are united, standing side by side as Cantabrians to stop this.

Organiser: Wayne Hawker

Contact details: 389 9802/021 234 2511 hawkerwm@hotmail.co.nz

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lifting earthquake-affected buildings in Christchurch

The Department of Labour has produced a fact sheet “to improve awareness of the hazards involved in lifting buildings in Christchurch.  It also provides industry recommendations for controlling these hazards.”

The fact sheet is a good way to become familiar with accepted practices to be used in Canterbury, and to check your insurance companies detailed costings to ensure nothing has been missed or understated.

An important note for those in TC2 and TC3 – the factsheet says:

There are a number of methods that house movers use to support buildings once they have been lifted.  The method they use depends on a range of factors including: size of building, topography of site, exposure to wind, and complexity of the new foundations.

Note: lifting and stabilising work conducted on TC2 and TC3 land should be informed by geological advice.  Contact the engineer responsible for the foundation repair/rebuild proposals to see if there are any particular concerns that need to be accounted for.

Has your insurance company factored this in?

The fact sheet is here, along with links to other material on lifting buildings.

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IAG – policy miscalculation understated policy values

Last year IAG reported to the Securities Commission it had miscalculated some home insurance policies by not applying correct inflation values to the policies (policies were under compensated for inflation).

This problem involves some types of policies issued by State, Lantern, Corporate Partners, Co-operative Bank,  and NZI. AMI policies were not affected by the miscalculation. According to IAG’s media release all policy holders have either been contacted, or will be contacted soon.

From the Commerce Commission’s website:

IAG discovered an error in August 2011 while assessing Canterbury earthquake claims and advised the Commission in October 2011. The problem affects some house and contents insurance policies offered by NZI, Lantern, ASB, BNZ and Co-operative Bank. IAG miscalculated the sum insured in 643 previously paid out total loss insurance claims. The same error will also affect the renewal of 150,755 current policies. 

The policies affected date back to 1980 in some cases, and include a sum insured which was to be automatically adjusted each year to reflect rising inflation. In fact the sum insured adjustments were incorrectly set below the rate of inflation for much of that period. The result has been that the sum insured for some people is less than it should be.

As part of the settlement, IAG estimates that it will make payments of up to $3.48 million to affected customers who have previously been paid out on total loss insurance claims, and those with total loss claims, to reflect what they should have received, or are due to receive. IAG will also offer the more than 150,755 current policyholders the option of either accepting an increased sum insured amount and therefore a higher insurance premium or agreeing a different value.

There is a statement from IAG here and the Commerce Commission here. Full settlement details can be downloaded from the Commerce Commission’s website here, and a settlement FAQ from here.

Media reports can be found on NBR (here), Press (here), and the NZ Herald (here).

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CCC - Cutting essential services to the Red Zone after 30 April 2013

In response to an OIA request:

Has the Christchurch City Council, either elected members or staff, received formal or informal enquiries from CERA about what services can be cut off in the Residential Red Zones after 30 April 2012?

If yes, please advise what requests have been made and how copies of them can be obtained.

the CCC have provided the following response:

Further to your request I have received the following comment from staff.

We have not received any requests from CERA to date on what services can be cut off after 30 April 2013.

CCC and CERA have worked on a programme of cutting off wastewater and water supply to houses that have been purchased by the Government and are vacated in order to reduce operational costs and risks in the residential red zones. CCC has also been collecting wheelie bins from properties that have been purchased by the government and the residents have left. The wheelie bins are owned by the City's contractor and are attached to the property title and not the owner or occupant.

What does it mean? At this stage it looks as though the property has to have been purchased by the Government and vacated before the Council will cut off wastewater and water supplies. Be interesting to know if Minister Brownlee and CERA see it this way.

It would also be interesting to know if Council staff will be prepared to cut services off where someone is still living in a Red Zone house after 30 April 2013.  Would they cross a picket line?

NOTE: the OIA information was obtained via the website fyi.org.nz. You can see the request and answers here.

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EQC–collaborative drilling problems with other insurers

EQC yesterday announced on rebuildchristchurch.co.nz that discussions have broken down with other insurers over the sharing of drilling data (here). At this stage it looks as though only Southern Response are prepared to cooperate with EQC (here).

The effect of this? Over-cap properties will be handled by their insurers who will need to source their own drilling equipment and produce their own data. Will it mean delays for over-cap properties? Possibly.

The EQC release reads:

Discussions between the Earthquake Commission and insurance companies have broken down in regards to a joint approach to the drilling and sharing of data.

This decision clears the way for EQC to focus on under cap properties while private insurers will continue with their own drilling programmes.  

The decision will bring certainty to TC3 customers sooner as they know their insurer is managing their claim and repairing their property as well as doing the drilling.

There will be no delay in EQC’s drilling programme and the individual insurers will have more flexibility to manage their own programmes.  All parties are putting considerable resources into their drilling programmes.

This decision does not rule out a collaborative drilling programme for overcap properties in the future.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Govt. offer to uninsured Red Zoners – generosity or cunning plan?

Last week Minister Brownlee issued a media statement that uninsured Red Zoners would be offered 50% of the value of the land and the house was theirs to do what they liked with until the 30th of April 2013. The statement is here.

There have been mumblings from different quarters as to whether the offer was too generous, or too low to be equitable. I suspect both parties have missed the point of the exercise.

Until this offer was made the government and CERA were faced with the prospect of the uninsured staying put, and CERA having no means to move them on except by siege tactics. Now that the uninsured have been made parties to the government offer process,  maybe CERA will feel they can force them out with some sort of legal basis for their actions.

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