Insurance companies are expected to give out millions of dollars in pay-outs following the massive earthquake in Christchurch.

Insurance Council of New Zealand Chief Executive Chris Ryan told BusinessDaily that it was difficult to guess the final bill at this point, as many of the buildings that collapsed in the earthquake had already been damaged in the original earthquake in September.

“There’s no question there will be increased costs, but this one is more difficult to ascertain as many of the buildings destroyed were already partially destroyed,” he said.

New Zealand earthquake: fears for trapped victims

“The second earthquake was more confined to the CBD, whereas the original earthquake spread out to the suburbs.”

September’s earthquake caused $NZ1.5 billion in damages.

New Zealand Earthquake: Find your friends and family in Christchurch

The New Zealand government’s Earthquake Commission offers compensation of up to $NZ100,000 for damaged buildings and $NZ20,000 for contents. Insurers are unlikely to fork out for claims that exceed this amount.

Get more info at and or

The Ministry of Civil Defence are asking that in order to minimise loading on the telecommunications network, people use text messaging to check if family and friends are safe.

New Zealanders in the UK who are worried about family and friends should continue to monitor the above websites, media reports and try to make direct contact. Once a national helpline has been established that number will be provided via the websites above.

British nationals concerned for British family and friends in New Zealand should contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for consular advice: