News & Thinking

Kaikōura Earthquake insurance claim deadline looms

Contributed by:

Tania Hutchinson
Special Counsel

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Tania Hutchinson

On 14 November 2016 at two minutes past midnight, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the Kaikoura region (Kaikōura EQ). 

It caused extensive damage in the North Canterbury, Marlborough and Wellington Regions. Conservative estimates suggest that the cost to repair the damage caused by the Kaikōura EQ likely exceeds $1.5B, which is roughly 0.5% of New Zealand’s GDP.

14 November 2022 is the sixth anniversary of the Kaikōura EQ.  Some insurers may claim that this a deadline for Kaikōura EQ claims, on the basis that the Limitation Act 2010 provides that any claim must be brought (which, under the Act, means filed in Court) within 6 years (Limitation Defence).  The insurers may continue to process claims but, if a dispute arises, they will rely on the Limitation Defence.  If the insurers are correct that could be fatal to the claim.

Insured property owners with existing claims, or those who think that their property might have sustained damage from the Kaikōura EQ, should ask their insurers whether they will agree to defer reliance on a Limitation Defence for enough time for the claim to be settled.

In the event an insurer does not agree to defer reliance on a Limitation Defence, Court proceedings should be filed against the insurer on or before Friday 11 November 2022, to preserve the insured property owner’s position.

Some insurers took the same approach with claims from the Canterbury earthquakes and over 100 court claims were filed just before the insurer’s limitation date.

Our specialist insurance team has acted for the owners of hundreds of commercial and residential properties damaged by the Canterbury, Seddon and Kaikōura earthquakes. We have settled claims totalling over $1B and won some of the leading earthquake damage Court cases.

We are ready to assist you with your Kaikōura EQ claim.