EQC have fronted in the media about cash settlements and uploaded new information about increased flood vulnerability, Ecan dropped a bombshell on 11,000 property owners about potentially contaminated land, CCC announced the Flood Taskforce findings, the government’s budget came out, updated insurance progress figures were released and possibly the biggest announcement of all was the fact that EQC and ICNZ are heading to court to get a declaratory judgement on EQC’s settlement of land damage.
All of this information goes into the planning of the ‘grand scheme of things’ and basically what it means for many residents is that we are feeling overloaded and a little confused as to how to respond and what it all means for our decision making.
Greater transparency to this information is a good thing though but we have to be able to process it and CanCERN is working hard to be part of groups which do allow for these opportunities.
It is the weekend though and the weather forecast is for no rain so take some time to clear your head of the white noise and find your happy place. We all deserve to rejuvenate in the happy places of our lives.
In the Know
In the Know is trucking along now and we have seen a definite increase in responses and an improvement in the responses themselves. This is a continual work in progress but the Think Tank is committed to making sure the priority questions get transparent responses.
We recently heard of someone who was able to use an In the Know response to her benefit just by presenting the information back to the relevant agency. This is how In the Know should work for residents so make sure you take some time to run through those questions which are most relevant to you so that you can make well informed and confident decisions.
The Insurance Council is working its way through all outstanding insurer related responses and has committed to responding to them all within a two-week timeframe. Where the response is a global one (all insurers have the same position), ICNZ will answer on their behalf after checking in with the insurers to validate the response. In situations where each insurer may have a specific policy position which is not held by all insurers the individual insurer will respond.
EQC are also working more quickly through their outstanding responses and we have seen a definite improvement in the level of information they are giving and the openness to really support residents with specific information. The councils are also keeping up to date with their responses and we are getting some clear information from them.
All in all, things are looking up for In the Know and rest assured that the Think Tank is continuing to work very hard to ensure this a useful communication tool.
As an aside, we have been asked to clarify who actually makes the decisions about which questions are uploaded onto the website. The community leaders within the Think Tank make this choice and for the most part every question question will be uploaded. There are some instances where the question is a duplicate and therefore we won’t repeat the question but we will direct the question asker to the appropriate response. There are a very small minority of questions which are very individualised and in those situations the Think Tank will call that person and direct them to a more appropriate place to have their situation addressed. Very rarely we get a question which we believe is more appropriate to be addressed by an Official Information Request to the agency because the response is not going to be one that will help residents to make decisions about their home. These are tricky ones to make decisions on so the deciding factor really comes down to how many people we believe need confidence in the response to make decisions. It is an imperfect science and the discussions are robust. At this stage we believe we have made good decisions as a Think Tank. If there are any major concerns about this you are welcome to email CanCERN and we will ensure it is discussed at Think Tank.
/************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Communication Steering Group
CanCERN has been invited to join the Communications Steering Group which is a multi-agency group. The purpose of the steering group is to provide strategic oversight by establishing processes for joint communications between organisations and to resolve communication issues that are potentially a roadblock to recovery.
This is an exciting opportunity for the residents of Canterbury because it signals an understanding that implications of timing and delivery of announcements and information should also play a part in the decisions made regarding communicating with the public.
The information discussed within these meetings is confidential and CanCERN has agreed that to ensure this opportunity remains available to us, we will abide by the terms of reference for the group. It is also important to us that information is released at the appropriate time with respect to ensuring there is enough supporting documentation and systems in place to help people understand any new information. We know from experience that early leaking of information or information that is released without other agencies being prepared has just resulted in additional stress for residents.
CanCERN has had over three and a half years of experience in this space of advocating for the residential experience of agency communication to better acknowledge the implications of the audience and we are confident we can continue to add value to both agencies and the residents./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
ICNZ media release – progress update
CERA has released the new residential progress figures which show a fair amount of activity. It is worth noting that private insurers are still receiving a lot of newly over-cap customers from EQC which we believe will put pressure on the insurer target end dates. Whether or not this will impact decisions made by insurers as to how they will settle is as yet unexplored so we will be asking a few questions about this.
It’s also worth asking the question about the ‘missing’ claims from the last quarterly update. Where are they within these figures because we sure hope they have been found.
Excerpts from the media release – ‘Almost 60 Percent of Canterbury Earthquake Insurance Dwelling Claims Settled’ are below:
Figures from the Canterbury Earthquake’s Recovery Authority’s (CERA) latest quarterly survey confirm insurers had settled 51,799 of 87,705 over cap and out of scope dwelling claims at 31 March 2014.
The survey shows that 41,924 (64%) out of scope dwelling claims have been settled and 9,875 (44%) over cap claims finalised.
“Combined that’s 59% of all earthquake-related insurance dwelling claims completed which demonstrates real drive by private insurers and claims management companies to resolve earthquake-related claims in Canterbury,” says ICNZ Chief Executive Tim Grafton.
The CERA survey shows that insurers had 22,455 over cap dwelling claims at the end of March 2014, indicating that a further 493 had become over cap during the first quarter of this year. The previous quarter had 21,962 over cap dwellings.
Of the 22,455 over cap dwellings, 9,875 (44%) had been settled, 9,755 (43%) were pending settlement and 2,876 (13%) were still to be made an offer or the insured had not made a decision on their offer.
Insurers and the claims management companies had completed 1,681 major repairs and rebuilds and cash settled 8,194 claims by the end of March.
“Our members are still forecasting that the majority of the insurer-managed rebuild programme will be completed by the end of 2016, however there are a number of factors outside the control of insurers that could impact on this such as land repair, retaining walls, Port Hills Mass Movement Areas, multi units and customers decision delays,” says Mr Grafton.
The original media release can be sourced here./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Land settlement declaratory judgement
The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has asked the High Court to make a ruling on questions relating to EQC’s coverage where properties are more at risk of flood damage due to the Canterbury earthquakes.
Read the media release from both EQC and ICNZ here.
CanCERN supports this decision as we hope it will speed up clarity and certainty for everyone so that residents can be confident about their choices and those choices that are made for them. We know from experience that when one agency makes an interpretation that hasn’t been tested there is likely to be confusing messages and stress for residents. This judgement should also give clarity to the practice of signing over potential EQC land settlements (Deed of Assignment).
Of course there are many questions to be asked – timing being the major one. CanCERN will be putting some of these questions to EQC and ICNZ but it is also a good time to go to In the Know and put it in the public arena so we can all be better informed.
/************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Updated flooding info from EQC
What is Increased Flooding Vulnerability?
Increased Flooding Vulnerability (IFV) is a type of land damage covered by EQC. In some parts of Christchurch the earthquakes caused changes to residential land and/or to rivers and estuaries that mean some houses are now at risk of flooding where previously they were not and some are now at greater risk of flooding. It is important to remember, Christchurch is a flat, low-lying city and there have always been areas prone to flooding and in some places the earthquakes have in increased flood risk for the time being through changes to river heights, narrowing of river banks, shallower river beds and damage to storm water infrastructure.
In order to identify these properties EQC:
- has gathered topographical information using LiDAR surveys, which involved the scanning of the ground surface from an aircraft after each major earthquake – completed
- has modelled the river flow for the Styx, Avon and Heathcote rivers – completed
- has modelled the overland flow (the effects of rainfall) for the catchment areas for the Styx, Avon and Heathcote rivers – to be completed in May 2014
- has modelled inundation for areas surrounding the Heathcote estuary
Both the river flow and overland flow models are required to establish whether a property is now more vulnerable to flooding.
Assessing Increased Flooding Vulnerability
EQC will assess the flooding vulnerability of a parcel of residential land based on the increased vulnerability to flood damage in a 1/100 or 1% Annual Exceedence Probability (AEP). An AEP of 1% or 1/100 means that there is a 1% chance of an event of that size occurring in any one year.
To determine whether there is sufficient evidence that a property has suffered IFV, it must generally be shown that the property has passed the following thresholds:
- The flood depth has increased by 200mm or more as a result of the Canterbury earthquake sequence, and
- The flood depth has increased by 100mm or more as a result of a single earthquake event, and
- The land has suffered observed damage as a result of the Canterbury earthquake sequence, and
- The change in flooding vulnerability has caused the value of the property to decrease.
A property will only qualify for IFV where subsidence to the insured land has caused it to become more vulnerable to flooding. If a property was already prone to flooding prior to the earthquake, and the flooding risk has not changed, then it will not qualify. See the Assessing Increased Flooding Vulnerability Infographic.
Once all flood modelling is complete in May, EQC will advise all affected property owners of the next steps in settling their land claim.
Some of the properties involved will fall within the Christchurch City Council’s existing flood management areas (FMAs) , while other are outside the FMA boundaries (though we understand that CCC is in the process of reviewing these boundaries).
Properties on hold due to potential increased Flooding Risk
There are 309 properties currently on hold within the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (CHRP) because the property has been identified as potentially having IFV land damage when some of the modelling results have become available. EQC has reassessed and is calling all of these customers to discuss the reason that their property was placed on hold within the CHRP programme and to advise the timeframe for confirming their land damage.
These customers will be offered an informed choice, to either:
- Have their property repaired through the CHRP programme ahead of the confirmation of their land damage, or
- Receive a cash settlement and manage their own repairs, or
- Remain on hold within the CHRP programme until such time as their land damage has been confirmed and they can make a more informed choice.
EQC is working jointly with the council and other agencies to talk to flood prone communities.
Original source here. FAQs are at the bottom of the page.
/************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Short term flood plans
The council’s recently established Flooding Taskforce has come up with some short term fixes for flood affected areas. Here’s a quick overview…
- A temporary pumping solution in Flockton
- The repair of flap gates in the Avon and Heathcote rivers
- Raising stop-banks on the Heathcote River and the removal of debris
- Individual property-level protections including house-raising and base water proofing
- Relocation solutions for the most at-risk households
- Targeted dredging of the Avon and Heathcote rivers
In total, nearly 1,000 properties were pinpointed as being regularly affected by post-quake flooding, with the 56 most vulnerable properties flooded twice or more.
The Taskforce will be speaking directly with those 56 property owners to let them know what’s being done to assist them.
A progress report will be provided to the council on June 5, 2014.
View the media release and other information about the task force here.
Here’s part of an email sent out on Monday by Jo Byrne, who has a home in the Flockton Basin:
I don’t want anyone to be disheartened by today’s outcomes. I know many of us were hoping for some zoning changes or a buy out – I have spoken with Council Staff and listened to Lianne Dalziel speaking and there is a lot more happening in the background that has not been reported as yet. Financial figures have gone to Central Government regarding relocating people – the vulnerability criteria will eventually be finalised in two ways, one being the vulnerability of the actual house (i.e. those that flood) and the other will be the vulnerability of the residents (i.e. disabled, very young, unwell etc. Wellness will consider mental health as well). As a group we will work together to ensure our vulnerable people are cared for.
I think instead of reacting to a report that was compiled in a very short time frame, we need to continue to consider the bigger issues. There has been so much focus on the flooding as a drainage issue and a CCC issue. We need to consider the role of EQC in this. As we all know the area has dropped due to seismic activity. EQC need to start working with us and acknowledging this. We have made progress if you consider that directly after the March floods Gerry Brownlee had no awareness of the EQ links to the flooding – it was disconcerting to hear him tonight talking about areas that have always flooded. We need more clarity from EQC as to their role in this. Members of the group have an initial meeting planned on Thursday morning, from this we can start considering our future plans and interactions with them.
We will soon be receiving rates relief which will be backdated to when we lost our homes. It will probably be about 40% which is similar to other people affected by the earthquakes. This is requiring a change of regulations, but the CCC is supporting this.
I know there are people at the end of their tether, and they may decide to leave the group and begin individual legal options. However, I think it is important that we:
- Continue to identify ourselves as earthquake affected people – not just flooding!
- Continue to work as a group – we have strength together
- Continue to work with the agencies
Land contaminated properties information
11,000 property owners are soon to receive letters informing them of the potential for their land to have contamination issues. It is important to note a few things:
- Receiving the letter is not confirmation of contamination as test would have to be carried out.
- Having contaminated land is generally only a major issue if the soil is being majorly disturbed. The reason Ecan has decided to actively inform people now is the level of earthworks occurring on Canterbury residential sites as houses are rebuilt and foundation work is occurring.
- The CDHB advises that there is very little health risk to inhabitants of these properties and simple common sense precautions should be enough to mitigate potential health risk.
- Remediation of contaminated land for those who are having major foundation repairs or a rebuild is likely to be covered by the insurer as part of the site works.
A bit of information from Ecan:
Hazardous activities and industries involve the use, storage or disposal of hazardous substances. These substances can sometimes contaminate the soil, which can remain contaminated for many years after the use has stopped. You can only know if the land is actually contaminated by testing it.
Environment Canterbury identifies land used for hazardous activities and industries. Since the Canterbury earthquakes, we have sped up this process in Christchurch because people may need information about the history of their land before repairing earthquake-damaged land or rebuilding homes.
When we identify this land, we write to property owners to let them know. Affected landowners will receive a complete information package over 4 weeks from May 13, 2014.
The following are links to information from the Ecan website
Fact SheetsWhat is Contaminated Land?
Identification of potentially contaminated land
What does it mean to me? What should I do about it?
Testing for contamination
Effects on health
Land Listed Use Register
Key contacts for refugees and migrants
Here’s a comprehensive list of key contacts for refugees and migrants (provided by Christchurch Resettlement Services). Community leaders may want to print and promote this in order to help those new to their communities.
Click on the picture for a high resolution downloadable version./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Roger Sutton’s monthly CERA update/************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>
Colombo Street Fun Ride
Grab your helmet, pump up your tyres, and slip into some spandex (optional)…
Spokes Canterbury has organised the Colombo Street Fun Ride to promote biking as an easy form of transport in Christchurch.
When: Sunday, May 18th – 9am onwards
Where: The entire length of Colombo Street, or any part, at any time.
More info here./************ get tags and categories ****************/ ?>