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Archived Updates

2013 Updates

3 September 2013 Preconstruction meeting to moving back into your home
August 2013 Building consents and betterment
June 2013 Progress update Q2 2013
May 2013 Building procurement process
April 2013 Progress your claim and keep things moving
April 2013 Temporary accommodation assistance update
February 2013 Site safety
January 2013 First update for 2013

 

Preconstruction meeting to moving back into your home

In this update:

  • From the preconstruction meeting to moving back in to your home – what you can expect
  • Land claim settlements – keep us in the loop

From the preconstruction meeting to moving back in to your home – what you can expect

With many projects in our earthquake reinstatement programme in or nearing construction, we’ve summarised below the interactions that you can expect to have with the parties involved in your project, from before construction begins through to moving back into your home.

Pre-start meeting

Once the building consent for your project has been issued, you will be invited to attend a ‘pre-start’ meeting with your Beca project manager, Christchurch City Council building inspector, architect and lead builder. Your architect will lead this meeting and circulate minutes to the wider project team including your engineer and any other parties as required.

The topics covered will include:

  • review of contracts
  • contract works insurance
  • building consent requirements
  • recap of the schedule of work and any betterment
  • construction programme discussion
  • review of the payment process for betterment
  • agreement to progress check meeting schedule
  • site specific Health and Safety Plan.

You will also be asked for input regarding the health and safety conditions specific to your property. These may include identification of underground services, artisan wells and any other items that the team should be aware of.

Health and safety on your property

Once building starts, the lead builder or designated site foreman controls access to the site and you should only enter with their approval and guidance. In the event of an accident, the site may be closed and a stop work order put in place until the incident is investigated.

Progress checks

You may choose (but are not required) to attend regular progress check meetings. Your architect will organise to meet with your lead builder (normally fortnightly) to review the work completed, discuss any issues and identify solutions.

Your lead builder will provide a progress update on each room, discuss any complete or pending Council inspections, highlight any betterment items, and give a health and safety briefing. Your architect will give instructions, advise any programme updates and/or variations to the design and circulate minutes to the wider project team as required.

From time to time Beca or MAS representatives will conduct spot checks to observe progress on a particular aspect of the work, gather information for a variation request, or accompany an independent health and safety auditor on a site inspection.

Practical completion review

When your lead builder deems construction work complete, you will be invited to meet with your architect, builder and Beca inspector to review the work and release the practical completion certificate. Your Beca project manager will normally represent MAS at this meeting.

Your architect will conduct a room by room check with the builder to identify and agree to a list of any outstanding work to be done before you move back in. All parties will agree to an intended move-in date and any further actions required to meet this date.

After the meeting, any outstanding work will be completed and there will be a formal handover to you subject to Beca’s agreement. Before the formal handover, you will need to have:

  • paid MAS for any betterment items
  • transferred any EQC payments you’ve received to MAS
  • confirmed that your MAS House insurance has been reinstated
  • advised MAS of your plans to relocate your contents.

Land claim settlements – keep us in the loop

EQC has confirmed that land claim settlement payments for the Port Hills will be completed by the end of this year, and that flat land payments are underway and are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Please be on the lookout for and advise MAS and/or your Beca project manager of any EQC land payments you receive, as we will need to discuss with you how these may relate to the repair or rebuild of your property.

Once your land claim is settled, you will receive a pack from EQC for your reference that outlines the damage covered and how the settlement amount was calculated. The settlement pack will include a land assessor’s sketch showing the location of damage, guides to land settlement and common land repair methods, and a calculation sheet.

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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Building consents and betterment

In this update:

  • Building consents – how Council delays are affecting our progress
  • Betterment – what it means for your claim

Building consents - how Council delays are affecting our progress

Members will be aware that Christchurch City Council officially lost its accreditation to issue building consents on 8 July, following an audit by International Accreditation New Zealand that found Council had failed to meet key requirements.

The amount of time it has taken for consents to be processed has been an issue for us for some months, and has resulted in lengthy delays. We are continuing to work with Council to find ways to streamline the consenting process, and are monitoring any responses from Council sent directly to architects.

We are also working with architects and builders to avoid the situation of a tender expiring before consent is released.

Betterment - what it means for your claim

When any house claim is lodged with MAS, we adopt a ‘like for like’ approach when undertaking building work. This means we replace the material that existed before the damage with the same material if it is still available in the marketplace, or a modern day equivalent. This approach is consistent across all our residential claims nationwide.

We understand that Members may want to take the opportunity to include improved features such as fixtures and fittings in the design of their repair or rebuild projects. At claim time, when an improved feature or design is proposed, it is known as betterment. As betterment exceeds ‘like for like’, all associated costs are the Member’s responsibility.

Examples of betterment that we will accommodate at a Member’s cost (subject to approval) in a repair or rebuild project include:

  • replacing acrylic bathroom fittings with china fittings
  • replacing vinyl flooring with ceramic tiles.

However, we have encountered other examples of betterment that have added significant complexity and increased costs to projects and have ultimately extended the time to get Members back into their homes. These include:

  • replacing a dated fit out with a higher specification fit out
  • changing the existing layout within the insured floor area
  • increasing the floor area of the dwelling beyond the original insured floor area.

In these instances we will have a discussion with the Member and may opt to cash settle the claim instead of managing the project. Please be advised that we will also deduct a proportion of the professional design fees from the cash settlement amount.

We ask Members to discuss betterment with your architects during the design process to ensure that you are fully aware of your responsibility for all associated costs of the betterment portion of the project. These costs include relevant professional fees, materials, labour and other builder’s fees and margins.

In some cases Members have been unaware that betterment has been included in their designs until extensive professional design services have been undertaken. In other cases Members have requested considerable betterment work during construction, adding significant unforeseen cost and time to projects.

We’d like to identify all aspects of betterment during the detailed design phase in order to pre-empt these situations. If you have any questions about betterment included in your claim, please contact your Beca project manager 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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Progress update Q2 2013

In this update:

  • Quarter 2 2013 – our progress
  • Member residential reinstatement complete

Quarter 2 2013 - our progress

We continue to make substantial progress in Christchurch and remain committed to our goal of getting all our earthquake affected Members back into their homes and workplaces by the end of 2014.

Residential repairs and rebuilds

11 residential reinstatements are now complete, and 80% of the 253 total active residential claims in our programme have advanced to:

  • detailed design (136 properties)
  • consenting and procurement (35 properties)
  • construction (33 properties).

In addition, we have cash-settled 94 residential claims with Members.

Our progress in Technical Category 3 (TC3)

53% of our residential claims are in land zoned TC3. Properties located in TC3 present challenges for all insurers, as generally the land in these areas poses a higher risk of liquefaction should a future earthquake event occur – therefore more detail around repair and rebuild solutions is required.

 

Given that MAS insures less than 5% of the total number of insured residential properties in Christchurch, we have made significant progress in TC3 compared to the wider market in terms of geotechnical assessment, design and construction.

According the most recent TC3 data available from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), as at 1 May 2013 residential properties in our programme accounted for:

  • 28% of the total residential reinstatements completed to date
  • 25% of the total residential rebuilds in construction
  • 17% of the total over-cap residential repairs in construction
  • 17% of the total over-cap residential repairs in design.

Commercial repairs

During the past three months, seven commercial properties have been repaired and six have been cash settled. Progress continues on the 26 remaining commercial repair claims: 24 are now in detailed design, consenting and procurement, or construction. Only two properties remain in the scoping and concept design phase.

Disputed claims

Eight residential claims remain in dispute with the Earthquake Commission (EQC). During the past three months, we have achieved outcomes for 22 disputed claims and we are confident that outcomes for the remaining claims will be confirmed by the end of September.

Challenges to our progress There are several ongoing challenges that continue to impact our ability to complete the repair and reconstruction of our Members’ homes.

Building consents

All insurers are experiencing delays of up to three months to obtain building consents. We are working proactively with the Council to minimise the impact of delays on Members, as well as working with architects and builders to ensure that tenders don’t expire before consent is granted.

The threat of Government intervention to clear the Council’s backlog of applications followed an audit earlier this month to identify areas for improvement in the consenting process. The Council has employed more consenting officers and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has contributed additional resources to help complete around 500 outstanding applications in the next two weeks.

Professional services

Due to high demand there is limited availability of professional services such as structural engineers and architects. If your project is currently in the scoping or design phase, we recommend that you approve the scope/design as quickly as possible so that we can secure the professionals required as you move into the next stage.

Land remediation

Around 65% of Member claims are in TC2 and TC3 areas. This means that site-specific engineering foundation design may be required. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for homes in TC2/TC3 and the foundation design needed will depend on the specific issues posed by the land.

We are working directly with EQC to determine a consistent approach to how foundation repair methodologies will be assessed.

More information on rebuilding in the TC3 area is available in the CERA TC3 Residential Rebuild booklet.

Betterment

As a reminder, MAS’ policy coverage in the reinstatement of properties is limited to addressing damage sustained as a result of the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. In some cases we have found that the extent of betterment included in a Member’s repair or rebuild design far exceeds the reinstatement of the original property. You should be aware that in such cases we are likely to cash settle your claim rather than managing the reinstatement of the property.

If you intend to include any betterment in the reinstatement of your property, you should notify your project manager from Beca as soon as possible to discuss in more detail.

Member residential reinstatement update

MAS Members Georgina and Mark Zarifeh’s roof is being reinstated using a slate tile imitation product that is made from recycled materials and offers a pragmatic and cost-effective solution to replace their earthquake damaged heavyweight slate roof.

“We knew we wanted a lightweight roof, but something that looks as nice as what we had originally,” says Georgina. “The roof looks fantastic, and MAS was very flexible. The team wasn’t rigid about the materials we chose, and they were really responsive when I said we wanted to get the weather-tightness done before winter – within 3 weeks, the scaffolding was up.”

The MBIE Building and Housing Group guidelines for residential building repair and reconstruction recommend lightweight structure and roofing solutions as these are likely to perform better in potential future earthquakes. There are a number of similar products in the marketplace and MBIE will recognise accredited products that are suitable lightweight solutions.

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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Building procurement process & residential advisory service

In this update:

  • Building procurement process
  • Residential advisory service - how it can help you

Building procurement process

Know your options

When the detailed design for your reinstatement project is complete, your architect will issue the relevant documents (which include construction drawings, specifications, Conditions of Contract and any other special conditions that pertain to the physical work) – and your claim will move into the builder procurement phase.

The ideal procurement process is for multiple builders to tender for a given contract. Where approved by us a Member’s preferred builder may be asked to solely price the work if the Member has a longstanding relationship with the builder that can advantage the project, namely the builder built and/or has completed extensive work on the property.

Please note that a builder who has completed the emergency works on a property does not automatically qualify as a preferred builder.

How we manage risk

During the procurement process, it is important that we manage the risk that pricing exceeds the reasonable market costs to complete the work for a given project and monitor the approval and timeliness of payments as the work is completed.

You should be aware that all tender information must remain confidential throughout the procurement process. In the case of a competitive tender, your architect will issue a recommendation letter following their review of the tenders submitted and present this for our approval.

In the case of a preferred builder, the price submitted by that builder is evaluated by the Member’s architect, who provides recommendations to our team for final approval. In this situation, we must work in an ‘open book’ manner with all costs clearly detailed for consideration. A meeting with a Beca quantity surveyor, the Member’s architect and the builder may be required to work through the details of the tender.

To manage the risk of hidden or misleading pricing, we reserve the right to seek further clarification on pricing, or to go back to the market for re-pricing if necessary.  

Beca is responsible for the ongoing risk management of your project and will have the following measures in place until the work is completed:

  • site checks to confirm that the work required is for earthquake (not pre-existing) damage
  • due diligence across payments and approvals
  • monitoring of parties responsible for payment.

What documents you should expect

We will provide a Tripartite Agreement for signature by you, your builder and MAS. This document details the process by which we pay your builder’s invoices up to the completion of your project. 

If your claim includes betterment you will also need to sign a Claim Settlement Agreement that confirms your financial responsibility for the betterment and the agreed method and timing of payment to us.

The New Zealand Institute of Architects Standard Conditions of Contract is the preferred contract document. Your architect should provide this document and observe the work until completion.

When the builder advises that your project is practically complete, your architect should assess the construction and sign off the practical completion. At this time your architect will compile a defects list (where necessary) that your builder has three months to complete per the contract. Upon completion, your architect will notify the Council to arrange a final inspection and issue a code compliance certificate.

How to keep things moving

Our team is doing everything we can to progress your repair or rebuild ahead of the anticipated queues for architectural and engineering services. Our last update encouraged you to check in regularly with your architect to ensure that work is progressing, particularly if you have not heard from them in a while. 

Our project managers have given feedback that this proactive communication has been helpful in keeping architects focused on completing their designs and moving through the process. Some architects may have taken on more work than they can handle, and you should let your Beca project manager know if you have concerns that your project is lagging behind schedule.

Please remember to discuss any concerns you may have about your project with our team as soon as possible, and notify your Beca project manager and your architect if you plan to be away or out of contact for an extended period of time.

Residential Advisory Service – how it can help you

On 15 May CERA launched the Residential Advisory Service to provide independent assistance to residential property owners in Canterbury.

You may be able to use this free service if you are in disagreement with another party over, or you are not confident that you understand the complexity of, your repair or rebuild process.

You should be aware that the Residential Advisory Service website advises you cannot access the service if you are participating in EQC mediation, are in the process of dealing with your situation through the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman or any other dispute resolution service, or have filed legal proceedings related to your claim.

You can contact the Residential Advisory Service on 03 379 7027 or 0800 777 299.

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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Progress your claim and keep things moving

In this update:

  • Temporary accommodation assistance update – how we can help you
  • Contract works insurance – make sure you’re covered
  • Getting ahead – progress your claim and keep things moving

Temporary accommodation assistance update – how we can help you

We have previously advised Members with an under-cap earthquake claim that if they are required to vacate their homes while repairs take place the cost of temporary accommodation would not be covered by their MAS policy. We appreciate this is not what Members expected and is not in line with what other providers have been able to offer. This is not a satisfactory situation from your point of view or ours.

As a result we have reviewed our position carefully and, effective immediately, MAS will provide eligible Members reimbursement of up to $1,000 per week for a maximum period of eight weeks. This also applies to Members retrospectively.

Reimbursable expenses include:

  • Actual and reasonable rental costs for alternative accommodation for you and your dependants.
  • Additional and reasonable boarding costs for domestic pets.
  • Additional and reasonable storage and transit costs.
  • If your property is a rental property, and your tenants are required to vacate, MAS will cover your actual loss of rent up to the maximum of $1,000 per week for a maximum period of eight weeks.

We appreciate that some Members may choose/have chosen to live with friends or relatives during repairs. We will consider a claim for additional actual and reasonable costs incurred during the stay on a case-by-case basis.

For more information or to apply visit our temporary accommodation assistance page.

Contract works insurance – make sure you’re covered

If you have a MAS earthquake claim which requires a rebuild or repair work to your home, you may be required to have contract works insurance. This insurance covers the repair or rebuild work, while it is underway, against destructive/disruptive events such as fire, flood, earthquake or theft of materials.

If you are rebuilding your house, the contract works policy will cover the value of the work undertaken until the new house is completed.

If you are repairing your property, the contract works policy will cover the repair project.  Your existing house policy will continue to cover the undamaged part of your home. The premium for contract works cover that relates to the earthquake damage will be met by MAS as a claim cost.

MAS expects to be able to offer contract works cover to all Members who have a claim under their  MAS policy but cover in all cases is subject to completion of a satisfactory proposal. MAS will work with Beca to prepare your contract works policy which will typically be during the procurement phase of your project. We will contact Members to make arrangements for the contract works application form to be signed and any supplementary information we may require to be obtained. We will also discuss the nature of the cover with you to ensure you are fully informed and understand your obligations. Please note that an excess will apply to any claims under a Contract works policy. 

Getting ahead – progress your claim and keep things moving

As the rebuild in Christchurch gathers momentum, significant workload pressures will be put on both structural engineers and architects with their services being in high demand. At MAS we want to ensure that progress on your repair or rebuild continues to progress ahead of the anticipated queues.

Like any project, continual progress is preferable to a stop-start approach. Regular communication between all parties involved in the process is extremely important. At our end, we will do everything we can to progress your claim as quickly as possible. However you can also help ensure progress on your project maintains momentum by:

  • Checking in regularly with your architect to ensure they’re working on your plans. If you have not heard from your architect for a period of time, do not assume that they are working on your project. As progress moves into a detailed design phase, more time is needed by the design team including their engineers.
  • Discussing any concerns you have about your project with Beca and MAS. Concerns may centre on the repair methodologies proposed, or on betterment. It is helpful if these issues are discussed earlier rather than later to ensure progress can be made on your claim.
  • Notifying the Beca Project Manager and your Architect if you intend to be away or out of contact for any extended period of time.

An Earthquake Repairs progress diagram, detailing what you can expect during the repair process can be found here, if you haven’t seen it already.

If you have any questions please contact us on 0800 600 627 or email info@mas.co.nz.

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Temporary Accommodation Assistance Update

In this update:

  • Temporary accommodation assistance update – how we can help you
  • Contract works insurance – make sure you’re covered
  • Getting ahead –progress your claim and keep things moving

Temporary accommodation assistance update – how we can help you We have previously advised Members with an under-cap earthquake claim that if they are required to vacate their homes while repairs take place the cost of temporary accommodation would not be covered by their MAS policy. We appreciate this is not what Members expected and is not in line with what other providers have been able to offer. This is not a satisfactory situation from your point of view or ours.

As a result we have reviewed our position carefully and, effective immediately, MAS will provide eligible Members reimbursement of up to $1,000 per week for a maximum period of eight weeks. This also applies to Members retrospectively.

Reimbursable expenses include:

  • Actual and reasonable rental costs for alternative accommodation for you and your dependants.
  • Additional and reasonable boarding costs for domestic pets.
  • Additional and reasonable storage and transit costs.
  • If your property is a rental property, and your tenants are required to vacate, MAS will cover your actual loss of rent up to the maximum of $1,000 per week for a maximum period of eight weeks.

We appreciate that some Members may choose/have chosen to live with friends or relatives during repairs. We will consider a claim for additional actual and reasonable costs incurred during the stay on a case-by-case basis.

For more information or to apply visit our temporary accommodation assistance page.

Contract works insurance – make sure you’re covered If you have a MAS earthquake claim which requires a rebuild or repair work to your home, you may be required to have contract works insurance. This insurance covers the repair or rebuild work, while it is underway, against destructive/disruptive events such as fire, flood, earthquake or theft of materials.

If you are rebuilding your house, the contract works policy will cover the value of the work undertaken until the new house is completed.

If you are repairing your property, the contract works policy will cover the repair project.  Your existing house policy will continue to cover the undamaged part of your home. The premium for contract works cover that relates to the earthquake damage will be met by MAS as a claim cost.

MAS expects to be able to offer contract works cover to all Members who have a claim under their  MAS policy but cover in all cases is subject to completion of a satisfactory proposal. MAS will work with Beca to prepare your contract works policy which will typically be during the procurement phase of your project. We will contact Members to make arrangements for the contract works application form to be signed and any supplementary information we may require to be obtained. We will also discuss the nature of the cover with you to ensure you are fully informed and understand your obligations. Please note that an excess will apply to any claims under a Contract works policy. 

Getting ahead – progress your claim and keep things moving As the rebuild in Christchurch gathers momentum, significant workload pressures will be put on both structural engineers and architects with their services being in high demand. At MAS we want to ensure that progress on your repair or rebuild continues to progress ahead of the anticipated queues.

Like any project, continual progress is preferable to a stop-start approach. Regular communication between all parties involved in the process is extremely important. At our end, we will do everything we can to progress your claim as quickly as possible. However you can also help ensure progress on your project maintains momentum by:

  • Checking in regularly with your architect to ensure they’re working on your plans. If you have not heard from your architect for a period of time, do not assume that they are working on your project. As progress moves into a detailed design phase, more time is needed by the design team including their engineers.
  • Discussing any concerns you have about your project with Beca and MAS. Concerns may centre on the repair methodologies proposed, or on betterment. It is helpful if these issues are discussed earlier rather than later to ensure progress can be made on your claim.
  • Notifying the Beca Project Manager and your Architect if you intend to be away or out of contact for any extended period of time.

An Earthquake Repairs progress diagram, detailing what you can expect during the repair process can be found here, if you haven’t seen it already.

If you have any questions please contact us on 0800 600 627 or email info@mas.co.nz.

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Site safety

With many construction projects in the MAS Earthquake Reinstatement programme underway or pending, we have outlined below the main health and safety requirements that you should be aware of on-site.

Builder rights and responsibilities

  • Prior to the start of works, your builder will prepare a Site Specific Safety Plan (SSSP) identifying the conditions on-site that may be unsafe, such as (but not limited to) overhanging power lines, the location of buried telephone cables or ground wells, dogs, or issues involving neighbouring properties.
  • Your builder will be in control of the site for the duration of the works and is required to take all reasonable steps to ensure work practices are safe. Once works begin, the site should be clearly marked as under construction with hazard and safety signage and appropriate fencing.
  • The SSSP is a living document that must be updated during construction to include any additional risks that may arise, such as the presence of lifting equipment and material, moving vehicles and/or other contractors such as landscapers.
  • Any incident that occurs on-site is the responsibility of the builder, and investigation by health and safety experts may result in delays in construction.

Site visits

You as the owner and any tenants, contractors, suppliers and/or merchant representatives will be granted access to the site solely upon prior notification to the builder and proper briefing on hazards. In most instances visitors should be accompanied on-site. 

Report incidents

MAS and Beca endeavor to ensure that safe practices are being carried out at all times on properties under our management. If you witness or are notified of an incident or near miss on your property, you should immediately tell the builder and your architect, as well as your Beca project manager for investigation and reporting to MAS.

You should also report any incidents witnessed on other construction sites across the city to the person in control of the relevant site. 

Contents transit and storage

Members vacating their homes may be required to place their contents in storage during repairs. Please notify us when your contents will be transported and provide the address of the storage location by phoning 0800 800 MAS or by emailing info@mas.co.nz.

You should be aware that your contents will not be covered while in transit or for any damage that is caused while in storage due to mould or mildew. MAS can offer goods in transit cover, which is available by phoning 0800 800 MAS or by emailing info@mas.co.nz.

Documentation – reinstatement process and timeframes

Once the scoping report for your reinstatement is complete, your architect or Beca project manager should provide you with a process diagram and a timeline containing the indicative timeframes for the phases of your reinstatement project. We have provided a sample timeline for your reference.

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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First update for 2013

We hope that you enjoyed your holidays and would like to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

This year we will send monthly earthquake updates and quarterly MAS Earthquake Reinstatement Programme progress reports. We will continue to send any urgent communications on an ad hoc basis.

Temporary accommodation

As claims in the MAS Earthquake Reinstatement Programme move into the construction phase, Members may be required to vacate their properties while repairs are completed. We understand that the Christchurch market is under pressure and if you are seeking a rental property, we would be happy to facilitate contact with Members who have rentals available.

Please contact Amy Peddie in the Christchurch office on 03 375 4410 or email amy.peddie@mas.co.nz for assistance. There are also a number of websites with pages specialising in temporary accommodation:

Please be advised that our policy limits temporary accommodation cover to $25,000 over a 12-month period. However, to support our Members and allow flexibility in the repair process, we have elected to apply this dollar figure with no time limit.

Temporary accommodation during repairs for 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. Members with under-cap claims may apply for accommodation assistance through the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service.

Reinsurance

Several Members have asked us recently how reinsurance works. In general, insurers are able to cover large-scale losses by transferring most of their claim costs to global reinsurance companies.

This means that when a large loss occurs, we pay only a portion of the claim and rely on reinsurers to cover the rest. Our reinsurers undertook an audit of our Christchurch Reinstatement programme in 2012 to ensure the methods we use to estimate and settle claims are robust. Reinsurer audits have a direct influence on our continued ability to pay claims, obtain on-going reinsurance at a reasonable cost, and ultimately continue to offer general insurance cover. As such it is our responsibility to remain accountable to our reinsurers and demonstrate that all claims are settled within the terms of our policies.

Until September 2010 house and contents reinsurance premiums in New Zealand were low compared to other areas worldwide. Following the Canterbury earthquakes, however, the global reinsurance industry has reassessed its exposure to the risk of earthquakes occurring in New Zealand and the price of cover has increased dramatically as a result.

The increased cost of reinsurance cover has resulted in higher costs for local insurers. For example, the Earthquake Commission (EQC) tripled its levy on house and contents insurance policies nationwide in February 2012 in response to the Canterbury earthquakes, and it is well known that premiums have risen across the majority of general insurance providers.

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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