CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand – Many homeowners are still waiting for insurance payouts two years after an earthquake devastated New Zealand's second largest city and killed 185 people.
A majority of claims have yet to be paid, and many residents of Christchurch are criticizing the slow progress in rebuilding homes. The second anniversary of the nation's most expensive natural disaster comes Friday.
The New Zealand Insurance Council said Wednesday that insurers have only been able to contemplate starting major repair work in the past six months because of aftershocks.
The council's chief Tom Grafton says it would have been irresponsible to start rebuilding the 14,000 destroyed or condemned homes while large aftershocks continued.
Christchurch lawmaker Lianne Dalziel says the insurance bottleneck is "psychologically debilitating" for her constituents living in the worst hit areas.