Post Blog: Christchurch Earthquake - A Loss Adjuster's Diary (Day two)

New Zealand Red Zone

Back in New Zealand following the earthquake, Benedict Burke discovers the impact on local services and the possibility of aftershocks, and talks skinny dipping with his team.

A year ago we advised our international adjusters to mix with the local market to become part of the scene. After my first day here, following a six-month interval, I now know what it must have been like for the early missionary priests arriving on these beautiful shores.

I was at dinner last night with our global technical team when one of our adjusters, Chester Studzinski, told the tale of his skinny dip on Saturday with just under 4 000 other local Christchurch residents at the The Edge NZ event.

It turns out it was an attempt to break the Guinness world record for public skinny dipping. Sadly, the attempt failed but he certainly mixed with the locals.

On a more positive note, some of the 161 Christchurch public buildings closed due to safety concerns could re-open by Christmas as the city is being hit by less frequent and less intense aftershocks.

The average magnitude has dropped from about 5.5 to 4 on the Richter scale and the probability of another serious earthquake, more than 6.3 being the magnitude of the February 2011 event, is now 9%, down from 13% last January. And to think I normally worry about whether the Piccadilly line is working OK.

Part of the planning changes to the region following the quake mean that buildings between 17% and 34% compliant with the new earthquake resistant standards, but which have not had any significant structural damage, could continue to be used if engineers validate their safety.

Christchurch City Council had rightly taken a conservative approach, opting to shut down any buildings that might pose a risk, which has meant effectively no public facilities for nearly two years for the 300 000 Christchurch residents and international loss adjusters.

Benedict Burke, senior vice president, global markets, Crawford & Company

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