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Land Settlements Update

EQC is now working on the remaining eleven percent of green zone properties and red zone properties (not owned by the Crown), which still need their land claims resolved.

“From a total of 73,000 such properties which had land claims, there are now around 8,000 where the land claims still need to be settled by EQC,” says EQC Head of Canterbury Land Settlement, Keith Land.

This year EQC is aiming to complete these remaining land damage settlements, with the majority of work focusing on claims for Increased Liquefaction Vulnerability (ILV) and Increased Flooding Vulnerability (IFV) land damage.

As of early May, 60 percent of potential Increased Flooding Vulnerability (IFV) customers (9,600) have had their IFV claims resolved. This also includes any outstanding visible land damage settlements these customers may have.

Together with resolving remaining IFV claims, the priority now is on settlements for the around 4,400 ILV customers. Some properties have both ILV and IFV land damage.

“We’re on track to start making the first payments to ILV customers from late June,” says Mr Land. Settlements for ILV land damage will be made by cash payment, in line with how IFV and other types of land damage from the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes have been settled to date.

ILV settlements will be based on one of two approaches: repair cost, or reduction in market value of the property due to ILV land damage – also called Diminution of Value (DOV). Information on ILV, and details of these settlement approaches, including answers to a number of questions, can be found on the EQC website at www.eqc. govt.nz/ILV.

ILV land damage settlements on the basis of DOV

EQC expects that most ILV properties will be settled solely on the basis of DOV. This is because, where the house has remained in place after the earthquakes (as many have), there will not generally be repair methods available to repair ILV damage on the property. The first payments made in late June will be to those customers with ILV land damage whose settlements are based on DOV. “The ILV DOV approach and settlement amounts will be similar to how we’ve been handling IFV claims,” says Mr Land. “We’ve been working closely with customer advocates groups to make sure the settlement communications our customers receive is clear and helps them understand our decision.”

ILV land damage settlements on the basis of repair cost

Work is underway to determine the settlements for ILV customers whose payments can be based on repair cost.

“We are planning to start contacting customers in early June who, based on the information we have to date, have the opportunity to complete a ground repair on their property to address the ILV land damage,” says Mr Land. Before the repair cost settlements can be made, EQC will be working closely with these customers to understand their plans for rebuilding on the site and whether the plans include any ground repair.

“We will have a dedicated team case managing these customers to ensure EQC has a good understanding of their situation and they are kept up-to-date with their claim’s status,” says Mr Land.

Land assessments and settlements in general

“We have identified different types of land damage – visible land damage, IFV and ILV. For each type of land damage, we use a range of assessment processes that allow the appropriate settlement for each customer and are consistent with the legislation in place. “Each property is different and is assessed on a case-by-case basis, so one customer’s settlement is not indicative of another’s,” says Mr Land. For more information on the approach to land claims and their settlement, visit www.eqc.govt.nz/land.

“We also have an open and robust review process in place for those customers who want us to review our decisions on whether their insured land has damage and/or the settlement amount paid,” says Mr Land.

Check out www.eqc.govt.nz/landreview for more information on land settlement review.

Land settlements for red zone properties

EQC is assessing all residential land claims across Canterbury in a consistent way – whether they are green zone properties or red zone properties. The Government’s decisions related to the red zone are separate from EQC’s decisions related to the assessment and settlement of land damage claims.

As agreed with CERA and now Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), EQC’s priority continues to be to resolve land damage claims for properties in the green zone and those in the red zone, whose owners did not accept a Crown offer. “However, we continue to work with LINZ, which has taken over management of the around 7,000 Crown owned red zone properties. We expect to agree a settlement approach with LINZ in the second half of 2016, applying the same policies EQC has used to settle green zone claims,” says Mr Land.

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