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Archived Updates

2012 Updates

  MAS geotechnical testing programme details
December 2012 EQC disputes
November 2012 EQC land damage payments
October 2012 Flood data and Variation 48
September 2012 Completion of initial geotechnical testing programme
August 2012 Geotechnical reporting process for over-cap claims
August 2012 Reinstatement and rebuild process – scoping phase to construction
July 2012 MAS / Beca programme update
July 2012 Land damage cover
July 2012 Rezoned white zone properties and EQC mediation services
June 2012 Under-cap repairs
June 2012 MAS and EQC meeting
April 2012 Geotechnical testing - architects seminars and betterment
April 2012 Architects seminar and definition of ‘substantially the same’
28 March 2012 Clarification of points of contact and joint review process
March 2012 Clarification of cash settlement option for over-cap property claims
March 2012 Outcome following MAS and EQC joint review process
15 February 2012 Geotechnical testing pilot programme
February 2012 Geotechnical testing update & under-cap claims
February 2012 Beca programme geotech testing
January 2012 Under cap temporary accommodation
January 2012 First update for 2012

 

MAS Geotechnical testing programme details

Medical Assurance Society (MAS) has engaged Beca to undertake geotechnical testing on insured properties within our MAS/Beca portfolio of earthquake claims. Members will be individually notified by the Beca Geotech Team in advance of the first property visit. Geotechnical testing activities for your property will vary, but most will have a combination of the activities below:

  • Initial checks for access and then buried services
  • Hand Auger Test
  • Borehole drilling
  • Pre-drilling
  • Cone petrometer testing (CPT) (both Portable and tracked Rig).

Only one activity type can be completed at a time on each property; therefore multiple visits will take place.

As the works are outside of buildings, contractors are able to work unsupervised by the Member if permitted.

Often the results from a test will determine any further required drilling/tests – this means that it is not unusual for some time to pass between each of these activities.

While Members will be notified in advance of the first property visit, the exact timing from that point onwards will be dependent on the complexity of each property and the type of testing required, in addition to equipment availability.

More information on the testing activities is provided below:

Your property particulars

If you have not already been requested to do so by the Beca Geotech Team, then to assist with testing on your particular property, please advise us of any specific access or health and safety issues that may be applicable when visiting your property e.g. locked security gates, dogs etc. Please send this information to:

By post: MAS, 158 Leinster Road, Strowan, Christchurch 8014

Or by email: masclaims@beca.com

Initial access check and pegging

Your property will be visited to review any potential access issues for the testing machinery. Locations will be pegged at this time for potential testing locations. It is important that Members do not remove pegs. Members will be advised of any potential access restrictions in advance of physical testing so that they can make other arrangements if necessary, e.g. if testing is on a driveway, we would request vehicles not be parked on the driveway for that day. Once all testing and subsequent laboratory analysis is complete, the Beca Geotech Team will be in contact to advise that the pegs can be removed.

Buried service checks

Before testing can commence, buried services checks will be undertaken by contractors –this is to ensure the peg sites that are noted on your property are not above drains or underground cables.

Each individual contractor who will undertake testing is responsible for conducting their own buried service checks prior to drilling. As such the same test site may be checked for services more than once if different testing rigs will be working at that location.

Hand augers

Shallow hand auger investigations are proposed at most properties. The hand augers are 50mm diameter and will typically extend to a maximum of four metres depth. The works will typically be completed within half a day. Results from this test will determine the next drilling/testing method.

CPT and/or portable CPT

CPT tests entail pushing an instrumented cone (approximately 40mm diameter) into the ground at a controlled rate, to obtain information about the soil profile. No samples are taken with this test, and the hole left behind is essentially self-sealing. Testing is estimated to take up to two hours to complete at each site.

Where dense gravel layers are encountered in the upper 15 metres, the CPT machine will need to be demobilised, and the location pre-drilled by a separate rig to below the gravel layer. The CPT rig will then return to complete the testing. Any such re-visits will be arranged with the Member. Pre-drilling will follow the same basic procedure and use the same test rig as machine borehole drilling.

Borehole drilling

Borehole drilling involves drilling boreholes of approximately 100mm diameter to a depth of 15 – 20 metres. Within each borehole, sampling and down-hole testing consisting of standard penetration tests (SPTs) will be carried out. This work can typically be completed within one day; however, where difficult ground conditions are encountered, this may take an extra half day. Please allow for the rig to be on-site for two days when including mobilisation/demobilisation from property to property. The plant required for the drilling work will either be a track mounted rig or smaller tractor type mobile rig. Approximate measurements of the smaller rig are 1.8m x 2m.

Drilling generates noise levels, measured on past projects at approximately 88db at a distance of two metres. The noise levels may increase for short periods of time during SPT testing to approximately 110db at a distance of two metres. Your immediate neighbours will be delivered a letter in advance advising them of this testing method and the expected noise involved.

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EQC Disputes

We would like to wish our Canterbury Members an enjoyable festive season and relaxing summer holidays. Our call centre and local Christchurch branch office will be open during the holiday period – please call 0800 800 627 should you need assistance.

MAS/Beca programme update

Since our last programme update in July 2012, we have:

  • completed our geotechnical testing programme for all residential properties with foundation damage that were not subject to dispute with the Earthquake Commission (EQC)
  • completed our commercial rebuild programme by cash settling all total losses
  • hosted a seminar to inform Members of programme progress and potential roadblocks
  • hosted two seminars for Members’ architects to prepare them for the construction phase of repair and rebuild projects.

As at 19 December there are 246 active residential property claims and 36 active commercial property claims in the MAS/Beca Earthquake Reinstatement Programme.

Commercial programme

7 commercial repairs are complete, 14 have been cash settled, and repairs are underway on 5 properties. The design of repairs on 29 properties is in progress.

Residential programme

Repairs

7 residential properties have completed repairs, 15 have been cash settled and another 8 properties have repairs in construction. Approximately 180 repairs are in the design phase.

Rebuilds

3 residential rebuilds are in construction, 71 total losses have been cash settled and 23 rebuilds are still in either the scoping or design phase. Most of these are in the detailed design phase.

Some claims in the overall programme are pending cash settlement, and scoping/design works are on hold for a number of residential properties pending EQC advice (see below).

EQC disputes

42 properties previously assessed by EQC as under-cap have been reclassified as over-cap, and 31 properties previously assessed by EQC as under-cap have been confirmed as under-cap.

26 claims remain disputed where we have assessed that the damage to a dwelling exceeds $100,000 + GST for at least one event, while EQC holds a different view. We will remain in contact with EQC to follow these up as soon as possible in the new year.

We hope that this update has provided some useful information for you.   If you have any questions, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or email us at info@mas.co.nz.

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EQC land damage payments

Members will be aware that the Earthquake Commission (EQC) expects to settle all land damage claims resulting from the Christchurch earthquakes by the end of 2014. MAS policies cover damage to Members’ properties, while EQC insures damage to land.

EQC has begun issuing payments for damage to land on which dwellings sit, as well as land damage related to external structures, for example driveways, paths and retaining walls.

These payments should be used solely for land remediation, where the land damage impacts on the repairs to a dwelling or the external structures of a property.

If MAS pays for the repairs to your dwelling and/or external structures, we will need to discuss with you how any EQC land damage payment that you receive relates to the repair works that we are undertaking.

If you have received an EQC land damage payment, please contact Talya Nelson on 0800 800 627 to schedule a time for discussion.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any questions, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or email us at info@mas.co.nz

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Flood data and Variation 48

Members will be aware of data released recently by the Christchurch City Council (CCC) to predict the impacts of flooding. Variation 48 of the Building Code was tabled in 2003 to address the need for a city-wide flood management plan due to rising tidal levels and changing weather patterns.

Since the earthquake events of 2010/11, land levels in parts of Christchurch have dropped by 200-300mm or more. Floor levels under Variation 48 have been updated accordingly, and the CCC has identified properties at risk of 1-in-50-year and 1-in-200-year flood events.

What does it mean for me?

Although your property may not be adjacent to a waterway or in a tidal area, it may be affected by updated floor level requirements if the land on which it sits has dropped.

CCC’s need to address the potential for flood damage is now a critical design element captured through the building consent process. Any Member planning a rebuild, major repair or repair requiring consent must work with their architect to consider the relevant floor level requirements – including the possibility of raising the minimum floor level, or in the case of a repair, raising the floor level of that portion of the property.

CCC existing use rights may apply if certain criteria are met – meaning that floor levels will not be affected – however this will be a CCC decision on a case-by-case basis.

Who covers the cost?

We will cover the cost of any floor level impacts on your design insofar as these respond to the claim lodged and in order to meet consenting obligations within the existing footprint of the property.

What happens if I choose to not recognise the requirements?

You should be aware that you may face a number of challenges if you do not recognise Variation 48:

  • You may not get a building consent.
  • A hazard notification may be lodged on the certificate of title, which means that any future claims for damage to areas of your property repaired or rebuilt since January 2011 may be uninsured.

Where can I get more information?

At this stage we are unable to answer queries on individual properties. Your architect will be aware of your property details and any applicable floor level requirements, and should be your first port of call.

Floor level identification is part of the normal consenting process and your architect can identify the appropriate strategy for your individual case.

Security

Members can assist in reducing the incidence of theft on building sites or vacant properties by taking a few precautionary security measures. We suggest that you:

  • Keep alarm systems in place and active if possible
  • Talk to your builder to ensure that any whitewear on site is secure
  • Ask your neighbours to be on the lookout for any suspicious persons or activity –especially outside of daylight hours and on weekends. 

Rental properties

We have been contacted by Members seeking properties in Christchurch for short-term rental while their homes are repaired. If you have an available rental property, we would be happy to facilitate contact with interested Members.

Please contact Amy Peddie in the MAS Christchurch office on 03 375 4410 or by email to amy.peddie@mas.co.nz for assistance.

We hope that this update has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any questions, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or email us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Completion of initial geotechnical testing programme

We will complete geotechnical testing of the original group of properties identified for the MAS/Beca programme on ‘the flat’ on target by 30 September 2012. This includes physical testing and reporting for all properties on the flat that are not subject to dispute with the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

Following MAS and EQC joint insurer reviews, testing for properties on the flat that are confirmed by EQC as over-cap and requiring geotechnical assessment will be managed by the MAS/Beca team, while properties confirmed by EQC as under-cap and requiring testing will be part of the EQC drilling programme.

Properties in the Port Hills continue to be evaluated and some are subject to joint insurer reviews. We are testing those properties confirmed over-cap and requiring assessment upon guidance from a Member’s architect and/or structural engineer on a case-by-case basis.

As per our previous update on the geotechnical reporting process, MAS/Beca programme geotechnical testing is carried out on confirmed over-cap properties to determine foundation repairs – as such completed reports are issued to the Member’s architect directly for use in the plans for reinstatement works as part of the detailed design stage.

Members are advised that EQC land damage claim assessment reports are unrelated to MAS commissioned geotechnical reports. If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or email us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Geotechnical reporting process for over-cap claims

Members may be interested to know how geotechnical reports are processed for over-cap properties where assessment is required to meet Department of Building and Housing and Council requirements for repairs and rebuilds.

Once physical investigations on a Member’s property are complete, the data obtained is analysed and the findings compiled in an interpretive geotechnical report. This report presents the detailed assessment of the ground conditions encountered on the property and confirmation of the relevant Technical Category.

The geotechnical report also provides guidance to assist in the reinstatement of the property in relation to the foundations or any ground improvements. The Member’s architect, in conjunction with the structural engineer, will use the findings of the report in the plans for reinstatement works – this is completed as part of the detailed design stage.

It is important to understand that while a geotechnical report may provide commentary on a range of issues, the reinstatement obligations for a given property are defined separately from this technical report, in the relevant design documents. 

As reports become available, these will be issued to the Member’s architect directly. In some cases, where structural damage is considerable or there are other complexities, a review of findings by the MAS/Beca team may be necessary before the report is released to the Member’s architect. 

Please note that any geotechnical testing for under-cap claims will be managed by Fletcher EQR, the Earthquake Commission (EQC) appointed Project Management Office, as part of EQC’s area wide testing programme.

Domestic contents policy updates

Following the earthquake events, MAS provided warranties on some Members’ domestic contents policies to cover items while in transit or in storage as a result of displacement. As policies come up for annual review, we must confirm if these warranties are still required.

To enable us to keep these policies up to date, it would be very helpful if Members could please contact us on 0800 800 627 or email info@mas.co.nz when their contents are returned to their homes.

Property sales

It is important for any Member who is considering selling their property to contact MAS, particularly if a property is going to auction. If you are thinking of selling your property, please contact your MAS adviser to avoid any complications in the sales process.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Reinstatement and rebuild process – scoping phase to construction 

Many Members have received or will soon receive a scope of works from their architect. To help you understand the process for progressing your claim from the scoping phase to the first day of construction works, we can confirm the following step-by-step process:

Scoping phase

1. Scope of Works Report – compiled by the architect in consultation with the Member and the relevant engineering specialists. This document summarises the earthquake damage incurred and the reinstatement approach for the property, along with all other relevant details. 

The scope effectively consists of a high level concept design prepared by the architect. This scope of works/concept is submitted by the architect to Beca for approval on behalf of MAS.

2. Approval of Scope of Works Report – a Beca quantity surveyor and the Member’s architect conduct an on-site review of the scope to verify that the repair of all earthquake damage has been scheduled and that the intended repair methodology is appropriate. 

The MAS / Beca team notifies the Member’s architect of progression to detailed design.

The MAS / Beca team works with the Member’s architect to identify and price any betterment.

Detailed design phase

3. Detailed design working drawings – the earlier scope/concept design is refined in more detail to firm up costs and scope. The Member’s architect then proceeds to complete working drawings and consenting specifications which are used to apply for consent as well as by building contractors for pricing.  

Any relevant elective betterment is further clarified during this approval step and a funding agreement between the Member and MAS is documented prior to the start of the physical works.

Pricing/builder appointment

4. Pricing – the Member’s architect issues documents, normally including working drawings, specifications, Conditions of Contract and any other special conditions that pertain to the physical work.

Normally the pricing and selection of a builder is completed through a competitive tender process. Where denoted, and approved, a Member’s preferred builder may be asked to solely price the work. The price submitted by the builder is evaluated by the Member’s architect who provides recommendations to the MAS / Beca team for final approval. MAS reserves the right to seek further pricing if required. 

5. Council building consent – concurrent to the pricing process, a building consent is applied for by the architect where required. The timeframe for the Council to issue a building consent may be 20 working days, but depends on the extent of works and the level of detail provided in the application.

Works must meet all relevant building codes and Council requirements. Overall compliance with the various codes is the responsibility of the Member’s architect.

Commencement of works

6. Pre-start documentation – MAS provides a Tripartite Agreement for signature by the builder, the Member and MAS. This document details the process for payment of invoices provided by the builder to reinstate the earthquake damaged property. 

MAS will also require the Member to sign a Claim Settlement Agreement. This agreement applies to the transfer of any Earthquake Commission (EQC) payments received by the Member to MAS.

Any EQC payment(s) received by the Member will be paid to MAS once the total of the reinstatement invoices exceeds the amount of the EQC payment(s). MAS agrees to pay the remaining invoices until the construction works for the reinstatement of the property are complete, excluding any elective betterment. 

The Claim Settlement Agreement also details MAS’s agreement to any elective betterment, the Member’s financial responsibility for these and the agreed method and timing of payment to MAS.

The usual documents necessary for any construction project will also be required and facilitated by the Member’s architect:

  • Builder to Member Construction Contract
  • Architect to Member Contract
  • Builder Health and Safety Plan detailing site-specific hazards and prevention measures from the builder
  • Provision of insurance details from the builder in relation to Contract Risks policy
  • Other contractor insurance provisions.

7. Pre-start meeting – this is held on-site by the architect with the builder. Members may attend and normally the Beca Project Manager also joins this meeting.   8. Start date – construction starts on-site. A Beca quantity surveyor inspects progress as payment claims are submitted. The architect provides updates to MAS, Beca and the Member on progress as works are completed.                        

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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MAS/Beca programme update

Members may be interested to know that as at 19 July 2012 there are 472 residential properties and 56 commercial properties in the MAS/Beca Earthquake Reinstatement Programme.

The land zone profiles of properties in the programme are as follows:

  • 2 properties            TC1/Green-Grey
  • 117 properties         TC2/Green-Yellow         
  • 199 properties         TC3/Green-Blue            
  • 174 properties         Green normal building consent applies              
  • 31 properties           Red pending settlement                                    
  • 5 properties             White pending Port Hills zoning outcome             

We are pleased to report the below summary of programme progress to date: 

Commercial programme

Four commercial reinstatement properties have completed repairs, one was cash settled and seven are now confirming repair schedules. 13 commercial properties have been assessed as total losses reaching the sum insured, of which 12 have been cash settled on this basis. 

Residential programme

Three residential reinstatement properties have completed repairs, nine were cash settled and another seven have repairs underway. Two residential rebuilds are underway, 46 are in the scoping/detailed design phase and 59 total losses have been cash settled.

Joint reviews

Following joint review by MAS/Beca and EQC, seven properties previously assessed by EQC as under-cap have been confirmed as over-cap, and one property previously assessed by EQC as under-cap has been reconfirmed as under-cap.

A further 85 properties are pending EQC advice. Please be assured that the MAS/Beca team is in regular contact with EQC requesting updates on the status of these joint reviews and will be in touch with Members as soon as outcomes are advised. 

Geotechnical testing programme

There are 125 properties in the current geotechnical testing programme for Members on the flat, of which all have had some physical testing and nearly 50% now have testing completed. 11 geotechnical testing reports have been issued to MAS and another 10 are in the final review stage.

We are confident that testing of all properties in the current programme will be complete by mid-September as planned. A further 88 properties with foundation damage on the flat are pending EQC advice on whether testing is required. Please be assured that the MAS/Beca team will be in contact with Members upon confirmation of EQC decisions.

Discussions are underway as to how geotechnical testing for properties in the Port Hills will be approached – we will update Members as soon as possible.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Land damage cover

We wish to clarify that your MAS policy covers earthquake damage to property, but not your land – cover for land damage is provided by the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

EQC insures

  • land on which your property is situated
  • land within eight metres of the house or outbuildings (such as a garage)
  • land that constitutes, supports or is part of the main access way, within 60 metres of the house from the boundary.

Under the Earthquake Commission Act 1993, EQC is required to assess the amount of damage to your residential land and provide cover up to the maximum amount specified in the Act.

Most EQC land damage claims are settled by a payment to the property owner, particularly where reinstatement of the land is impractical. EQC will, however, consider organising repairs to the land, including retaining walls, where these are needed to make repairs to your property, and where there is enough cover to carry out the work.

How settlement amounts are determined

Land damage settlement decisions are made under section 19 of the Act. EQC calculates the land claim settlement based on:

  • the cost to repair land that is damaged or lost (or in some circumstances the reduction in the value of the land where repair is inappropriate), plus
  • the indemnity value of any retaining walls, bridges and/or culverts (and their support systems) that are covered.

In some circumstances, EQC may make a settlement based on the maximum entitlement under the Act. Members should be aware that this is often (but not always) the value of the minimum lot size allowable under your district plan.

This means that the value of a settlement will not always be the full amount needed to repair or reinstate land, or retaining walls, to a pre-earthquake condition. If EQC considers your land impractical to reinstate, it does not necessarily mean the land cannot be built on.

If EQC settles your land claim by making a pay-out for the maximum entitlement under the Act, you will need to discuss with MAS the implications for your house repair or rebuild.

More information on land damage claims can be accessed on the EQC website.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Rezoned white zone properties & EQC mediation services

White Zone properties rezoned

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) announced zoning changes for approximately 1300 properties formerly zoned White in the Port Hills on 29 June.

The majority of properties were rezoned Green, and owners can now initiate repair or rebuild following the usual insurance process with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and/or their private insurers.

285 properties were rezoned Red due to life safety risks related to cliff collapse, rock roll and/or landslip. CERA has deemed any option to remediate land uneconomical in areas subject to the impacts of cliff collapse, debris inundation or land cracking.

A further 166 properties remain in the White Zone, pending the collection and analysis of further information to determine the level of risks to life safety related to rock roll and landslip.

Members unsure of their zoning status can confirm this by entering their address on the CERA My Property page.

EQC offers free mediation service

EQC and the Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) recently signed an agreement to provide an independent mediation service for EQC customers. The decision to establish the service recognised that there are times when significant differences between customers and EQC would be best resolved with the help of an unbiased third party.

EQC Customer Services General Manager Bruce Emson said, “[Mediations] could, for instance, be about valuations or options for remediation where EQC and the customer hold divergent views.”

The mediation scheme, expected to commence in August, will be funded by EQC at no cost to customers. If a settlement outcome was reached in mediation, a contractually binding agreement would be signed between the parties. Some matters, such as the interpretation of legislation, will not be covered.

The scheme will be administered by AMINZ, with services provided by experienced practitioners. EQC customers will be able to select a preferred mediator from the AMINZ website.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Under-cap repairs

MAS requests that Members with under-cap claims keep us informed of progress on any repairs to your property undertaken by Fletcher EQR, so that we can manage any potential insurance risks that are not covered by the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

EQC will cover Fletcher EQR for any damage to the building materials and/or the work itself while the project is underway, and will also cover any damage to your home caused by the repair activity. Members should be aware that your MAS policy excludes loss or damage caused by any renovations involving the removal of any structural support.

If Fletcher EQR is carrying out structural repairs on your property, it is important to advise us of the details in order to confirm that your MAS policy will remain in force during the project. This will ensure that you maintain cover for events unrelated to the repairs – for example flooding, windstorm or malicious damage.

If you are required to vacate your home while repairs are undertaken by Fletcher EQR, and your home does not qualify for EQC cover, MAS will cover any new earthquake damage – however this will be subject to an excess (claim deductible) of $5,000. No additional premium will be payable for this cover extension.

EQCover guidelines stipulate that the normal cover for any new earthquake damage will not apply if your home does not satisfy the EQC definition of a residential building during the repair project. We have queried the EQC insurance team and aim to confirm to what extent repairs will impact the residential status of a dwelling in time for our next update.  

If your property does not require structural repairs and you will continue to live in your home while repairs are completed, your usual policy conditions and exceptions will apply.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

 

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MAS and EQC Meeting

We would like to inform Members that MAS claims staff met with Earthquake Commission (EQC) Chief Executive Ian Simpson and Customer Services General Manager Bruce Emson on 5 June 2012.

This meeting was an opportunity for MAS to share with EQC our Members’ frustrations in relation to outstanding claims for their earthquake-damaged homes – and for all participants to agree to a constructive approach for moving claims forward, from a process as well as a resourcing perspective.  

Among the key issues discussed were the ongoing delays and perceived lack of progress around joint reviews of properties where MAS and EQC have differing assessments of damage as above or below the EQC cap of $100,000. MAS has requested that EQC provide a reasonable and realistic timeframe for resolving the joint reviews and EQC has committed to providing this.

Land remediation was also discussed, and EQC advised that their approach to reaching a solution is a work in progress that is likely to have impacts on urban areas nationwide in the event of future earthquakes.

MAS also raised the issue of EQC payments for TC3 properties and EQC confirmed that payments have recommenced. Overall the meeting was an open and positive discussion focused on achieving a more practical approach to the settlement of MAS claims.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Geotechnical testing - architects seminars and betterment

MAS geotechnical testing programme

We are pleased to bring you news concerning the resumption of geotechnical testing on Members’ properties in the TC2 and TC3 zones. Testing is scheduled to recommence on 14 May and, all going well, should be completed within three to four months. At the same time, we are starting to look at options for geotechnical testing in the Port Hills.

We had previously suspended work on the geotechnical programme pending the release of foundation guidelines from the Department of Building and Housing and the possible establishment of joint venture drilling programmes between the insurance industry and the Earthquake Commission (EQC).

While EQC has now announced plans to commence drilling in the eastern suburbs, the indicated timeframes for their programme, and the stated intention to work from East to West, mean the majority of Member properties may not be tested until much later this year, or even next year. For this reason we have decided to go ahead with our own testing programme.

Please note that testing will only be undertaken on properties confirmed as being over the EQC cap. The geotechnical programme will not include properties where both MAS and EQC agree that the repair costs are under cap.

There are some cases where MAS believes the repairs are over cap while EQC consider the damage is repairable for less than the EQC cap. There are currently no cases of the reverse applying. 

Where the repair cost is in dispute, MAS and EQC are comparing the scope of damage through a joint review process. The objective is to reach an agreement on whether the claim should be managed by MAS or EQC. We are working through these joint reviews as quickly as possible but resource constraints at EQC are currently limiting reviews to six per week.

We will write to Members with claims in the TC2 and TC3 zones shortly confirming your claim status as follows:

  1. Over cap: If you are confirmed as being over cap, you can expect to be contacted at some time in the next two to three months to arrange for drilling to be undertaken on your property.
  2. Disputed claims: We will keep you informed of progress with joint reviews. Once a claim is determined as being definitely over cap, the property will be scheduled for geotechnical testing.
  3. Under cap: Properties that are agreed by both MAS and EQC as being under cap will not be part of the MAS geotechnical testing programme. You will need to contact EQC to obtain information on how your claim will be resolved.

Architects seminars

A number of relevant topics for Members were raised at our seminars with architects on Wednesday 11 April and Thursday 12 April. One key topic was the MAS policy response to rebuilding or repairing a property to a higher standard than prior to the earthquake events, or ‘betterment’. This is detailed below.

Full summaries of questions and answers following these sessions will be posted on our Canterbury earthquake information page under the ‘Member seminars’ heading as soon as they become available – we expect to post these summaries next week.

Betterment

MAS will cover the cost of reinstating your dwelling to a condition substantially the same as new, so far as modern materials allow, including any additional costs which may be necessary to comply with any building consent requirements. This means the quality of materials used will be the same as, or the modern equivalent to, existing materials.

Generally, any feature or quality that is of a higher standard than the original dwelling will be classed as betterment, and will require the prior agreement of MAS. Some betterment is covered under your policy, for example, the cost of insulation will be covered up to the point required for consent purposes – but any insulation requested that is over and above these requirements and/or pre-existing protection will be considered betterment and the cost will fall to the Member.

Any requests for elective betterment will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Examples of elective betterment include enhancements to the following: roof cladding, heating, fences, swimming pools and/or landscaping of a property.

We are happy to discuss any questions that you have regarding betterment and will visit your property if necessary. Please contact your Beca Project Manager in the first instance to discuss.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.   If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or email us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Architects seminar and definition of 'substantially the same'

Geotechnical update

Members with reinstatement or rebuild claims in the TC2 and TC3 zones are aware that the proposed Geotechnical programme for over cap claims has been suspended since 4 April. We took this action to avoid the possible risk of conflicts with other proposed programmes, unnecessary duplication of cost, and continuing uncertainty around foundation requirements for properties in TC3.

Our objective remains to get this testing done as soon as possible so that Members can get their repair and rebuild consent applications into Council ahead of what will inevitably be long queues later on.

We are still confident this is achievable but ask Members for their forbearance while we iron out a few remaining issues. We hope to be able to provide Members with a positive update to this position next week.   

Architects seminar

MAS and Beca hosted seminars with architects on Wednesday 11 April and Thursday 12 April to clarify the process for obtaining sign-off on a scope of work for a reinstatement or a rebuild. The seminars confirmed how the scope must meet the policy requirements before it is approved by MAS. 

A number of relevant topics related to scoping work were raised in these seminars. One key topic was the definition of the MAS policy response to rebuilding or repairing a property to ‘substantially the same’ condition as prior to the earthquake events. This is detailed below.

Our next update on 26 April will include other relevant topics for Members that were raised at our seminar with architects.  

Definition of ‘substantially the same’

Rebuilds

The new dwelling must sit within the same footprint and within the same envelope, i.e. have the same height, roof pitch and proximity to boundaries to the existing dwelling. It must also be no greater than the square metres of the insured floor area.

‘Substantially the same’ also applies to structural quality, fixtures, space and services, built with modern materials and to modern regulatory standards. For example, if you had two bathrooms in your original home, you can expect two bathrooms of a similar quality in your new home – and these will be included in the scope of works that MAS agrees to pay.

However, if you would like central heating in your new home, but do not have this facility in your current home, your architect can include this in the scope of work but you will be responsible for the costs associated with the design and installation of the new central heating system.

Reinstatements

The quality of the materials used to repair your property will be the same as prior to the earthquakes. However, if the original material is no longer available, the equivalent standard, as allowed under building consent rules, will be used to complete your repairs.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.   If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Clarification of points of contact and joint review process

Clarification of points of contact

MAS and Beca continue to receive Member queries that could be answered more efficiently if addressed in the first instance to the appropriate party. Please see below list of points of contact and corresponding areas of responsibility. 

Your architect should answer queries related to:

  • Design and/or scoping work for properties with damage confirmed over the Earthquake Commission (EQC) cap of $100,000 for at least one event
  • Planning and monitoring the reinstatement or rebuild of your property to completion
  • Overseeing your builder contract to manage the delivery of agreed works.

Beca should answer queries related to:

  • Authorisation of payments based on monthly updates supplied by your architect
  • Scheduling on-site audits to confirm that progress on your property matches the payment requests made by your architect.

Fletcher EQR should answer queries related to:

  • Damage to your property that has been confirmed as under the EQC cap – to contact Fletcher EQR you may phone 0800 DAMAGE, email queries@eqr.co.nz or select your local hub office from the list provided on their website.

MAS should answer queries related to: 

  • Insurance matters such as the assessment of damage to your property – if you have any queries about damage assessment or other policy-related questions, please contact us by emailing claims@mas.co.nz
  • All other queries not detailed above – please contact us by phoning 0800 800 627 or by emailing info@mas.co.nz

Joint review process

We would like to clarify that joint reviews undertaken by MAS and EQC where there is a significant difference between EQC’s and the architect/loss adjuster’s assessment of damage are limited by EQC resourcing. This means that MAS cannot guarantee a joint review of any claim and has no control over progress on the joint review process.

Please be advised that while the architect/loss adjuster’s costing will be considered in a joint review, EQC will consult their advisers to arrive at the costing per event that determines whether or not, in their view, damage to your property is over or under the EQC cap of $100,000.

Port Hills rezoning expected in June

CERA Chief Executive Officer Roger Sutton has announced that properties currently designated as White Zone in the Port Hills should be rezoned by the end of June 2012.

The announcement cited that the main issues complicating zoning outcomes in the hills are cliff collapse, landslide and rockfall. CERA has commissioned a 3D rockfall study to be completed by the end of April, while GNS Science (commissioned by the Christchurch City Council) is completing a model to indicate areas most at risk from further rockfall and cliff collapse. Sutton said land movement is also being monitored, although the total area involved is much smaller than those areas affected by rockfall and cliff collapse.

The Port Hills area has been split into nine work areas and a geotechnical consultant has been assigned to each – a list of these work areas and the type of work being undertaken is available at the bottom of the announcement.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.   If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Clarification of MAS cash settlement option for over-cap property claims

A number of Members have inquired about how we arrive at a final amount in the case of a cash settlement. MAS would like to reaffirm that the replacement cash settlement option is not an entitlement under our policy. Our policy obligation is to repair or rebuild your dwelling or settle at an indemnity value established by a qualified valuer.

The decision to offer a replacement cash settlement option is a position that MAS has taken in support of our Members, to settle claims and to allow flexibility in the rebuilding of their homes.

Following this decision, a process was developed to cash settle on a replacement value, determined by a full quantity survey of the property.

We would like to clarify further that the option to cash settle relies on the dwelling being rebuilt on stable land or a secure supporting structure. The cash settlement offer will not include the costs of land remediation of any kind. This means that the costs for enhanced foundations, geotechnical assessments or any changes to planning consents are excluded.

If Members choose not to accept our cash settlement offer, MAS will rebuild or repair your home under the terms of your policy.

If you have any questions about cash settlement, please contact us by emailing info@mas.co.nz.

Re-use of salvageable items

MAS would like to confirm as previously advised that, where a Member opts for the cash settlement of a claim in whole or in part, the ownership of any insured items that have been paid for under the settlement of the policy will transfer to MAS.

Any undamaged salvageable items will be re-used wherever possible in repair and rebuilding work, enabling us to implement an economic and environmentally friendly approach to our salvage policy. 

Members are welcome to discuss with us any item that you may like to keep – or purchase, if we deem that the item has a significant salvage value – these will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you would like to discuss keeping a salvageable item, please contact us by emailing info@mas.co.nz.

TC3 foundation guidelines delayed

MAS advises Members that foundation guidelines for Green/Blue Zone Technical Category (TC3) properties will not be ready until mid-April. The guidelines had been scheduled to be released last month, however the Department of Building and Housing has delayed their release to allow time to develop foundation designs for quake-damaged TC3 houses. More information is available on the Stuff website.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Outcome following MAS and EQC joint review process

Six weeks ago MAS and the Earthquake Commission (EQC) initiated a joint review process to review claims where a significant difference between EQC’s and the architect/loss adjuster’s assessment of damage has resulted in a difference of opinion as to whether the damage is over-cap.

Following this review process, some claims previously assessed as over-cap may be reassessed by EQC as under-cap repairs or reinstatements, and vice versa.

If EQC concludes that damage to a Member’s property is under-cap, that claim will be managed by Fletcher EQR as the EQC appointed Programme Management Office for all under-cap claims. However, if EQC concludes that damage to a Member’s property is over-cap, MAS will manage that claim (in conjunction with Beca).

We are aware that some properties may have significant damage that has occurred across multiple events. We appreciate that some Members may already have an architect engaged in scoping their repairs and that this review process may change the repair outcome in the event of a property being reassessed as under-cap. Members can be assured that MAS will pay all costs incurred up to the point where EQC advise that Fletcher EQR will proceed with repairs.

Please see more information on options for settling under-cap claims. If you have any additional questions about the joint review process, please contact us by emailing info@mas.co.nz.

Temporary accommodation assistance for under-cap claims

A number of Members have inquired about temporary accommodation assistance for claims that have been assessed as under-cap and as such are being managed by Fletcher EQR.

As previously advised, MAS reconfirms that our policy does not cover any accommodation expenses incurred where the repair work is for damage that is under the EQC cap.

Members with under-cap claims can apply for temporary accommodation assistance by taking the following steps:

  1. Contact us by emailing claims@mas.co.nz to request a letter confirming that your MAS policy does not cover temporary accommodation expenses for under-cap claims
  2. Contact Fletcher EQR to request proof that you are required to vacate your property
  3. Visit the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service website
  4. Complete an application form (provides a list of required accompanying documentation, including letters mentioned above from MAS and Fletcher EQR)
  5. Take your application form, accompanied by all required documents (or send it with certified copies thereof) to your nearest Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service office – a list of locations is located at the bottom of the application information page.

If you have any further questions about temporary accommodation assistance, please contact us by emailing info@mas.co.nz.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

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Geotechnical testing pilot programme

MAS is pleased to announce that a pilot geotechnical testing programme comprising a cross-section of properties in the TC1, TC2 and TC3 zones commenced last week. The learnings from this pilot will enhance efficiency and productivity in the roll out of the programme for the remainder of the properties over the next three months. 

Further detail regarding where a Member’s property sits within the testing programme is currently being developed and will be advised following the completion of the pilot.

If you have any questions, please contact us by phoning 0800 800 627 or by email to info@mas.co.nz.

Structural assessment requirement for commercial buildings

MAS advises Members that the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) requires owners of commercial buildings in Canterbury to carry out the appropriate checks to ensure that their properties are safe for those entering, working and/or living in these buildings. Please note that the CERA assessment requirement is unrelated to your insurance policy and has no connection to claims with MAS.

Members with commercial properties may access detailed guidelines for the assessment process here. Please note that a structural assessment will require a Chartered Professional Engineer to complete and submit a standardised report form.

When you receive a letter from CERA requesting a structural assessment, please refer to the CERA website for instructions on how to undertake this work here. Where Members have not yet received a letter from CERA, it would be beneficial to review the requirements and prudent to commence making necessary arrangements.

Streamlining points of contact

MAS and Beca have recently received a volume of calls from Members with queries that are directly related to the work of their architects. We would like to confirm that any queries related to design and/or scoping work for properties with damage considered over the EQC cap (for at least one event) should be addressed directly with your architect. Members with damage that has been assessed as under-cap should address any queries to Fletcher EQR, as the EQC appointed project management office for under-cap properties.

Architects are charged with planning and monitoring the reinstatement or rebuild of your property to completion. They will also oversee your builder contract to manage the delivery of agreed works.

Architects must provide monthly progress reports and invoices to Beca. Payments are authorised by Beca upon production of the monthly updates supplied by your architect – you will also receive a copy of these reports. Beca will conduct on-site audits to confirm that progress on your property matches the payment requests made by your architect. You will be advised of these inspections in advance and your architect must confirm their availability to meet on-site. Any queries related to site visits should be directed to Beca.   

MAS is your point of contact for any queries related to insurance matters – i.e. policy coverage, and any queries related to contents insurance. We provide full replacement of the cost of replacing or restoring your destroyed or damaged contents. There are two types of MAS contents claims:

  • Damage not covered by EQC – for example artworks, collectables – that is settled by MAS.
  • Damage to contents that is greater than $20,000. EQC pays $20,000 minus 1% excess (+ GST). MAS will pay the remainder including the replacement of items not covered by EQC. 

We’ve been working with EQC to try to make the content claims process easier for Members. If you have a claim over $20,000, please provide us with the details and we will settle the claim directly with you. We will then let EQC know that they can pay you the $20,000 directly. Please direct queries related to contents claims to info@mas.co.nz or by phoning 0800 800 627.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Geotechnical testing update & under-cap claims

MAS would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the anniversary of one of the most devastating events in New Zealand history. It has been a challenging twelve months for Cantabrians and on this occasion we reaffirm our commitment to supporting our Members through the recovery and rebuilding of Christchurch.

Geotechnical testing update

MAS confirms that our pilot testing of a cross-section of properties in the TC1, TC2 and TC3 zones is now underway. The results of the pilot will address any issues identified in the testing process and optimise the main roll out of the programme for the remainder of the properties over the next three months.

The pilot testing schedule is proceeding in tandem with preliminary site visits to determine the testing requirements for the remainder of properties in the programme. Beca will contact Members to schedule site visits by the geotechnical team within the next month.

If you have any questions, please contact us by phoning 0800 800 627 or by email to info@mas.co.nz.

Under-cap claims 

MAS would like to clarify that where a Member submits a claim for damage to property that is considered under the cap of $100,000 per event, MAS has no influence in the process of settling your claim with EQC. Fletcher EQR is responsible for the management of all under-cap claims as the EQC appointed Project Management Office – more information on the Fletcher EQR website. 

Earthquake repair work outside of the EQC cover should continue to be referred to MAS. Common examples of items not covered by EQC damage include tennis courts, swimming pools, driveways or fences.

Please contact us by phoning 0800 800 627 or by email to info@mas.co.nz to submit a claim for any of the above.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Beca programme geotech testing

MAS is pleased to announce that a consultancy team has been appointed to carry out geotechnical testing where required. We have taken these pre-emptive steps to secure exclusive resources for geotechnical testing, initially for Members with properties in the TC1, TC2 and TC3 land categories. Further information on the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) technical categories can be found here.

The first phase of testing will take place on TC1, TC2 and TC3 properties. Testing will commence in mid-February and the bulk of the physical testing is anticipated to be completed within three months. Members will be contacted in due course to arrange access to their individual property.

The geotechnical testing process may involve up to 5 site visits per property including:

  1. Identification of the testing locations on-site and any access constraints
  2. Location of services and finalisation of test locations by the Drilling Contractor
  3. Completion of CPT (cone penetrometer testing) tests and installation of piezometer tubes
  4. Hand auger/deep drilling on selected properties
  5. Measurement of ground water levels in piezometer tubes (up to 2 weeks after CPT testing)

Members will receive more detailed information about the testing and the geotechnical team when they are contacted to schedule testing on their individual property.

How do I know if my property is included in this programme?

If damage to your property exceeds the EQC cap of $100,000 for a specific event, and/or if through the assessment process, foundation damage has been noted.

What if a geotech investigation has already been carried out on my property?

The MAS appointed geotechnical consultancy team will review all tests/reports and advise if further testing is required. MAS will be responsible for the associated costs of any new testing.

What if my property is in another zone?

Properties in the Green Brown (Port Hills) zone, or any zones categorised as White or Orange will be managed as part of a separate phase. Red zone properties do not require testing.

EQC damage assessment and event apportionment

We understand that some Members may be concerned that damage to their property, which has previously been assessed by MAS / Beca as severe and over the Earthquake Commission (EQC) cap, has more recently been assessed by the EQC as under-cap and repairable.

We also acknowledge that some Members’ concerns may be compounded where damage previously assessed by MAS/Beca as over-cap has more recently been assessed by EQC as under-cap per earthquake event, across two or more events. 

We would like to assure Members that the MAS / Beca team is working with EQC to resolve any inconsistencies around damage assessment and to arrive at an agreed process for event apportionment. Members may be contacted to arrange joint site visits in the coming weeks. 

In the meantime, if you are contacted by Fletcher EQR to request a damage assessment visit, please decline and request that the caller contact Beca Programme Manager Caroline Burt on 03 367 2491 or by e-mail at masclaims@beca.com.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you. If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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Under cap temporary accommodation

Repair work on any house with damage that has been assessed by the Earthquake Commission (EQC) as under-cap will be managed by Fletcher Construction as part of the Earthquake Recovery (EQR) programme. Details around the EQC cap for Members can be found here.

Fletcher EQR is the Project Management Office established by EQC to project manage all residential repairs between $10,000 and $100,000. More information on the Fletcher EQR programme can be accessed here

Members with under-cap damage may be asked by Fletcher EQR to vacate their houses while repair work is completed, and in turn may incur temporary accommodation costs. 

MAS advises Members that their policy does not cover any accommodation expenses incurred where the repair work is for damage that is under the EQC cap.

Members with temporary accommodation costs may apply for assistance through the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service. A helpful guide for how to apply for assistance is available here – or you may call 0800 673 227 from Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm.

If you have any questions please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz

EQC payments

MAS advises Members with MAS / Beca managed reinstatements and rebuilds that you will be required to pay any money received from EQC for works on your dwelling to MAS.

We are working closely with EQC to arrange for payments associated with reinstatement and rebuilding costs. Once we have been advised by EQC that a payment has been made, we will be in contact with the individual Member to recover these costs.

If you have already received a payment(s) from EQC, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz to assist you with the process of making a remittance to MAS.

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First update for 2012

Welcome to the first Christchurch earthquake update for 2012. We hope that you enjoyed your holiday break despite any disruptions caused by the events of 23 December and the subsequent aftershocks. 

New damage resulting from 23 December

MAS advises Members affected by the earthquake events of 23 December to take photos of any new or worsened damage to your property. You should also submit a claim to the Earthquake Commission (EQC) as soon as possible. A list of tips for making a claim for natural disaster damage can be found on the EQC website.

EQC claims are accepted for up to 90 days from the date of the event and can be submitted by calling 0800 326 243 or online. A guide to making a claim with EQC and a step-by-step explanation of the claims settlement process can be found on the EQC website.

Please also advise MAS of any new or worsened earthquake damage to your property on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.  

Event apportionment process

EQC provides cover for dwellings up to a maximum cap of $100,000 per event. In addition EQC pays the value of any damaged land at the time of the event – or its repair cost – whichever is lower.

If MAS has already notified you that your property has incurred damage that is considered over the EQC cap and repairable, your architect or loss adjuster should continue scoping repairs to your property. Details around the EQC cap and event apportionment for Members can be found here.

Please be assured that MAS is working directly with EQC to clarify and formalise a process for event apportionment – no action is required by you. If you have any further questions please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

Cash settlement process

MAS offers Members a cash settlement option to suit their individual rebuilding circumstances. It is important that Members considering a cash settlement option to rebuild their property seek the appropriate independent financial and legal advice.

Where a Member accepts a cash settlement, any previously incurred professional design fees (i.e. for architects and sub-consultants) that have been pre-approved and funded by MAS to establish the cost associated with the claim will be paid by MAS.

In some cases Members may wish to seek further architectural and technical engineering services – beyond those pre-approved by MAS – to inform their decision. Please be advised that the costs of this advice are not covered under our policies and as such will be incurred at the expense of the Member. If after the advice is received, the Member opts for a cash settlement, the additional professional fees incurred will be deducted from the final cash settlement amount.

Please note that the process for a cash settlement will require the Member to pay any money received from EQC for their dwelling to MAS, including where this is received after the settlement has been effected.

Finally please be advised that Members with MAS / Beca managed repairs and rebuilds will not incur any professional fees for pre-approved architect and/or loss adjuster services, except where a Member has separately commissioned betterment to coincide with repair/rebuild works. In this instance Members will be invoiced directly by the architect or sub-consultant.

We hope that this newsletter has provided some useful information for you.

If you have any other questions or need more information, please contact us on 0800 800 627 or e-mail us at info@mas.co.nz.

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