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10 December 2018

Setting the standard for earthquake resolution

Crombie Lockwood’s Christchurch specialist team set the standard for earthquake claims management and resolution both for the firm’s clients and for a number of other insureds who sought out their expert service after Christchurch’s devastating earthquake on 22 February 2011.

The Catholic Diocese of Christchurch’s claim covered over 200 buildings, including a number of primary and secondary schools as well as the Basilica. A diocese spokesman said the Crombie Lockwood team “provided outstanding leadership, outstanding advice and outstanding negotiation skills. ... They led, cajoled, reported, advised and negotiated. They gained the respect of the diocesan professional advisers, the loss adjusters, the bishop and all those working to assist. …. To say that they were outstanding is almost an understatement.”

Foodstuffs South Island also suffered major damage to its Hornby Distribution Centre and New World and Pak’nSave supermarkets. Along with the damage to the buildings, the business owners of these supermarkets suffered both stock loss and damage to their equipment: New World Kaiapoi was damaged beyond repair.

Crombie Lockwood supported Foodstuffs from day one with an emphasis on assisting the business and business owners to restore the supply chain and return to business as normal. The New World Kaiapoi supermarket was one of the first buildings rebuilt in Canterbury and was operational by December 2011. Foodstuffs said of Crombie Lockwood: “They were in contact with us within an hour of the earthquake.

“We have attended many seminars on insurance matters. Each time we came away with an appreciation of how far advanced we were with claims and decisions compared to other businesses in Canterbury. We were in control of our insurance process and we had few concerns with insurance, and we could focus on getting on with business and rebuilding.”

The owners of the Forsyth Barr Building faced particular challenges as a result of the type of damage sustained to the building. The claim was complex, with numerous engineering challenges, the scope of repair required by insurance policy, and the ever-present threat of possible compulsory acquisition. Crombie Lockwood led the claim response, providing proactive claims advocacy, and they positioned and led the extensive consulting team through the final negotiation with insurers and the successful resolution of the claim. The insurance placement by Crombie Lockwood, importantly for the owners, provided full business interruption and loss of rents cover for the entire duration of the claim process.

Crombie Lockwood was also heavily involved with other insured parties who were not originally their clients but had approached the team for help both with earthquake claim resolution and the placement of insurance for new builds and the renovation of damaged buildings.

The owners of the former Medlab building approached Crombie Lockwood to manage and resolve the claim on their building. Less than six months later, the claim was settled, facilitating a joint venture with the owners of the former Oxford Clinic. Crombie Lockwood worked with the building owners, their consultants and the local and offshore insurance markets to secure full insurance for the project, thereby enabling project funding. Forté Health, Christchurch's state-of-the art surgical and patient facilities, is in one of New Zealand's safest and environmentally sound buildings and was the first placement in the core CBD following the February 2011 earthquake.

Antony Gough of Hereford Holdings appointed Crombie Lockwood as its broking partner to move forward with insuring the redevelopment of the very core of the past, and future CBD – “The Terrace” development. The Terrace, which opened I early in 2018, is a $140 million redevelopment of the Christchurch hospitality precinct once known as “The Strip” on Oxford Terrace and features restaurants, bars and retail outlets, with laneways, courtyards, roof terraces and corporate offices above. Crombie Lockwood is delighted to have been involved in facilitating this key development in the Christchurch rebuild.