Residents of New Zealand’s Christchurch are outraged at the treatment they have received from both the government and insurance companies in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck the nation earlier in the year. Many homes and businesses were destroyed or left uninhabitable after the earthquake, leading government officials to designate the area’s most affected by the quake as a “red zone.” Former residents of the red zone are now calling for justice as many of the nation’s insurance companies refuse to pay claims.
After February’s earthquake, many insurance companies fled the nation, hoping to distance themselves from the massive number of insured losses. As the insurers fled, the policies that once protected the homes in Christchurch were paid out and quickly nullified. The exodus of insurers spurred the government to offer to buy damaged property from homeowners for prices that residents feared are much lower than the actual value of their homes.
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Prime Minister John Key spoke with Newstalk ZB noting that the contempt of Christchurch’s residents ought to be aimed at insurance companies instead of the government. Key has spoken out against the various insurance companies fleeing New Zealand. He places blame with these companies for the $150,000 each resident of Christchurch’s red zone will have to pay for their damaged properties.
Despite concerns from residents, Key insists that the government buyout offer is for much more than the market value of the homes damaged in the quake.