Recovery from N.Z Earthquake surpasses U.S. process

Aftermath Canterbury Earthquake

Image by martinluff via Flickr

Observations from U.S. earthquake experts who visited New Zealand confirmed what I have expected, but could not confirm. See: Canterbury Earthquake Victims Much Better Off Than Californians . Source is NZ news outlet,; Dec. 22, 2010.

Canterbury earthquake victims head into 2011 knowing they are much better off than the people of California whose lives are mostly ruined by earthquakes. The Canterbury earthquake response has been judged far more efficient than what occurred after the 2005 Katrina hurricane in New Orleans, a city that is still not rebuilt after more than five years, a leading American earthquake response expert says.

Dyce said they were impressed with the near universality of EQC insurance coverage, the helpful and cost-effective “top-off” cover offered by private insurance companies, and the excellent overall level of response and assistance being provided to New Zealanders with damaged homes. We know this will lead to the quickest possible recovery, for families and for the community, particularly because additional public expenditures can go immediately to public expenses such as damaged infrastructure.

While at times people living in or awaiting repair of their damaged homes will grow impatient for a return to normalcy, we saw just how quickly the EQC staffed up their adjuster and estimator response teams as well as its organisational ability to handle all facets of the massive event response. New Zealanders are quite fortunate that the average annual cost for earthquake cover is less than $60 for the first $100,000 of coverage, with minimal additional cost charged for higher, replacement-cost limits provided through private insurers. By comparison, the average annual cost for a homeowner’s earthquake policy in California is about $US690, some 15 times more expensive and with a much, much higher excess (deductible).

My thanks for Mark Chubb for pointing out this article to me.

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