Christchurch the home of rising insurance fraud
New Zealand’s Christchurch continues to wrangle with ongoing insurance troubles amidst persistent aftershocks stemming from a major earthquake disaster in late 2010. The quake caused extensive damage throughout the Christchurch region and caused a large exodus of many of the country’s insurance providers. This flight of insurers left much of the region without insurance, which led to various government initiatives aimed at providing some amount of stability to those that still lived in the area. Now, however, a new trend has emerged within the region that is targeting the insurers that have remained or returned in the wake of the disaster.
Insurance Council notes property fires a sign of desperation
According to the Insurance Council of New Zealand, homeowners in Canterbury county have been setting their own property on fire in an attempt to collect on insurance claims. Homeowners throughout the region have been desperate to receive some kind of financial support since the earthquake disaster. While the government has provided some support, many people still remain in a ruined situation without a clear solution. Since the 2010 earthquake, the Canterbury region has been rocked with more than 1,200 aftershocks. These small quakes have done little to calm the nerves of homeowners.
Fire insurance for those without adequate quake coverage
The Insurance Council believes that these deliberate fires are acts of desperation and that this desperation is causing the country’s rate of insurance fraud to spike. Council officials note that many people do not have adequate insurance coverage to account for damage caused by earthquakes. As such, homes with inadequate coverage that were damaged by the 2010 quake or its subsequent aftershocks were left in a poor state. The Council believes that homeowners in these particular positions would purchase fire insurance and then burn down their homes shortly after the policies became active.
Arsonists do not present danger at this time
Canterbury Criminal Investigations, along with the county’s Fire Service, have been conducting investigations into the matter. Fire Service officials have noted that the recent fires were, in fact, the result of arson. Law enforcement officials believe there is more than one arsonist, but that these people are not connected to one another in any way apart from a possible connection through the 2010 earthquake. Officials do not believe that these arsonists present a danger to the general public at this time.