Recovering from the earthquakes

As we continue on track with our programme of rebuilding homes, businesses and communities in Canterbury, we’re also here to support our customers who’ve been affected by the recent earthquakes elsewhere in the country. Whether you’re in Seddon, Wellington, Christchurch or anywhere else in New Zealand, we’re here to help all our customers who’ve claimed as a result of an earthquake.

Every claim is different, which is why for our customers in Canterbury, we've developed two flowcharts that illustrate the 'typical' repair and rebuild procedure. These are designed to help you understand the claims process, what stage you're at and what happens next. For our customers in other parts of New Zealand, the process may differ according to how much you've been affected so please give us a call to talk about what's likely to happen next. See below for more information.

Helping you move on from the earthquakes is a top priority for my claims teams. It's our job to work with experts in the field such as Loss Adjusters and Rebuild Solution Managers in a way that ensures we stay on target to deliver our commitment to complete our residential rebuild and repair programme in Christchurch by 2015.

I hope you find the information on this page useful. If there is anything we haven’t answered for you please contact us on 0800 80 24 24 or email

Brendan McGillicuddy
General Manager - Claims

Background to the earthquakes

The first, and largest magnitude, earthquake occurred on 4 September 2010. Its magnitude – 7.1 on the Richter Scale – put it in the class of a major earthquake likely to cause serious damage. And it did.

The earthquake was centred 30km west of Christchurch at a depth of 10km. When it hit it buckled land, caused extensive liquefaction, toppled chimneys and did serious damage to homes and infrastructure. Thankfully, there was no loss of life, mainly because of the time it hit – 4.35am on a Saturday morning.

Many large aftershocks followed, including a 4.9 on Boxing Day 2010.

Then, just as Cantabrians were adjusting to the ‘new normal’, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit – just before 1pm on Tuesday, 22 February 2011.

Although smaller in magnitude, the earthquake was centred close to the CBD, causing extensive damage. Sadly this event caused the loss of 185 lives, making it New Zealand’s second deadliest natural disaster.

It was also easily New Zealand’s most expensive natural disaster. In fact, with an estimated total cost to insurers in excess of $13 billion from this shake alone, it’s one of the most expensive insured events in the world.

In addition to these major events, there have been more than 12,000 aftershocks, including more than 50 in excess of magnitude 5 – the most recent of these in May 2012. A further 520 were of a magnitude greater than 4 on the Richter Scale

Contacts for State insurance earthquake media enquiries

Craig Dowling 021 615 663

Denise Bailey 029 969 3549