Ten years on from the first Canterbury earthquake, hundreds of residents are still trying to fix broken homes.
At 4.35am on September 4, 2010 a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Canterbury. Thousands of quakes followed, including a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in February 2011 in which 185 people died.
But 10 years on from the first earthquake, the Earthquake Commission (EQC) said there was no way of predicting when the last insurance claim would come.
"The problem we are facing is that reopened claims come in as fast as we are closing out other ones," EQC head of Canterbury claims Kate Tod said.
Ahead of the 10-year anniversary, EQC, which handled Canterbury earthquake damage up to $115,000, had 1561 claims on its books - all reopened claims because of faulty repairs or previously undiscovered damage.
"About 18 months ago, we received around 700 reopened claims each month and that has now reduced to about 450 each month, so thankfully we are seeing a slowdown in the number of reopened claims," Tod said.
"But it is impossible to put a date on when we will receive and settle the last reopened Canterbury claim."
Over the past six months, EQC said 50 per cent of reopened cases were from new property owners.
"We understand this is hugely frustrating for Canterbury homeowners who still have to deal with earthquake damage after a decade and EQC have apologised on numerous occasions to the people of Canterbury for the additional stress this has caused them," she said.
Southern Response, the Crown-entity that was formed following the collapse of AMI after the quakes, had 220 claims still open.
Figures from the Insurance Council reveal as of June 30, 531 open property claims remained from private insurers Tower, Vero, AA Insurance, IAG, MAS and FMG.
Insurers were still receiving new over-cap claims from EQC. Some properties had multiple claims.
Ali Jones, the chairwoman of the Claimants Reference Group, said she heard of new awful insurance situations every week. A recent example included an elderly couple in their late 80s who wanted to move into a retirement village.
"They put the house on the market and someone came round to look at it. This person knew what to check for earthquake damage-wise. She found structural damage, earthquake damage that had not been picked up when they had cosmetic repairs done years ago," Jones said.
"This couple now has to go back to EQC and start the process of getting the damage repaired ... I can't imagine doing that at their age."
Jones believed part of the reason people still had unresolved insurance claims 10 years on from the first earthquake was partly because "echoes of that culture of arrogance remain" in the insurance sector.
"There are some very good people working in both insurance and EQC, and I believe there's a real desire ... to change things."
Tim Grafton, chief executive of the Insurance Council of New Zealand, said since 2010 insurers had worked hard to support customers affected by the Canterbury earthquake sequence.
'It's like hitting your head against a wall'
Christchurch homeowner Jeannette Jennings is still battling to get her two-and-a-half bedroom home in Ilam fixed.
The September 2010 earthquake badly damaged the rubble foundations, with cracks on every side.
Jennings said the house was 61mm out of level and she had to shave off parts of the windows so they could open. The back doors also had to be adjusted.
She said she and her insurer, Southern Response, could not agree about what to do about the foundation.
"The foundation needs to be rebuilt ... you can't fix a rubble ring foundation and then expect when there is another earthquake insurance will pay out."
She said Southern Response, however, believed it could be repaired. An interim payment had been made by the insurer, but Jennings said it was not enough to rebuild the foundation and fix the home.
She said an independent Quantity Surveyor had estimated that cost to be more than $500,000.
Jennings said she was "just exhausted with the battle" and dealing with Southern Response sometimes felt like hitting her head against a wall.
The process had cost her thousands of dollars. Parts of the weatherboard cladding outside the home also had to be taped up to prevent moisture getting in, as well as cracks in the foundation.
Jennings said she was concerned about how widespread undetected earthquake damage was across Canterbury.
"There's thousands of people who live in badly repaired houses," she said.
"I would never buy another house in Christchurch, you never know what you are going to get."
Southern Response said multiple engineering and geotechnical reports on the property had suggested a re-levelling and repair strategy for the foundations.
"Despite this, Ms Jennings continues to disagree with the repair methodology and amount that has been put forward by Southern Response," Southern Response general manager Casey Hurren said.
Hurren said Southern Response had provided information to Jennings about how she could use the interim payment to start repairs and come back to Southern Response if more money was needed, or provide independent expert evidence demonstrating Southern Response's assessment of her claim was incorrect.
"We have not heard anything further from Ms Jennings in relation to these options," he said.
"Southern Response acknowledges that Ms Jennings has found the process stressful, and sincerely hopes that the payment she has received allows her to progress the repair of her home."