Faulty girders cause multi-million dollar loss


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Construction on the underground tunnel had begun in 2011 and was due for completion in the fall of 2014. However, problems were identified with the pre-stressed concrete girders in 2013 and work on the tunnel halted.


  • The Challenge

    The contractor hired to design, build and install the pre-stressed concrete girders made 500 between August 2012 and May 2013. While a quality management procedure and plan was in place, the insured was concerned about the use of tack welding in the girders.

  • The Solution

    Extensive testing and analysis of the girders began with the random demolition of six girders and extensive load testing. It was determined that in addition to the use of tack welding and lack of regulatory approval, none of the girders were fabricated according to the original agreement. The loss adjusters determined they were deficient and unsafe to be put to use in highway tunnels.

Rebuilding Christchurch

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Over 90% of claims from the Christchurch quakes have been settled, but that still leaves a significant number of losses unresolved.

It is over five years since the first serious earthquake occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand, and there have been nearly 14,000 aftershocks. The 6.3M quake on 22 February 2011 killed 185 people, destroyed much of the inner city and rendered several suburbs permanently uninhabitable. Cunningham Lindsey has been involved in approximately 30,000 claims and has surveyed in excess of 60,000 damaged properties.

  • The Challenge:

    Before the earthquakes the Cunningham Lindsey New Zealand company had 185 staff. We lost both Christchurch offices during the earthquakes, but thankfully none of our staff or their families were seriously injured.

  • The Solution:

    At the height of the earthquake response, our numbers swelled to over 550, and many of the additional adjusters came from Cunningham Lindsey in Australia, the UK, South Africa, Canada, Spain and the US. In normal times the New Zealand office has five chartered accountants. At one stage after the earthquakes we had 56 accountants on board to handle nearly 6,000 earthquake business interruption claims, dealing with customers under great stress, many with businesses and homes in ruins.