Christchurch man with terminal cancer spending final days battling insurance company

A Christchurch man with terminal cancer is spending his final days in a decades-long battle with his insurance company over earthquake damages.

Brian Shaw owns an apartment in a block of 11, all of which were damaged in the 2011 earthquakes. Ten years on, there has been no insurance payout or repairs.

"It feels like you've had the life taken out of you and it's gut-wrenchingly disappointing," Shaw said.

The issue is over two different engineering viewpoints on what is wrong with the building.

Shaw said getting technical reports and pursuing a settlement with insurance company, Vero, has already cost unit owners about $4000,000 and hasn't even made it to court.

"We have had to prove that the building is in the state it's in every step of the way we've had to front every engineering test," he said.

Shaw said that on top of this, they've had to deal with constant deflection and denial from Vero.

The New Brighton apartment block was designed by Alan Reay, who was the principal designer of the CCTV building.

Another unit owner, Paula Halliday, said Vero has been consistently avoiding court action.

"They've been different six times now over the last few years and we've had enough," Halliday said.

Shaw, who's battling stage four bladder cancer said he doesn't want this mess to be left for his family to sort out.

"I don't want to be spending this time dealing with this and knowing that I could pass away."

Shaw's daughter Zia Lily said the burden of proof shouldn't be on the homeowner.

"At every instance, Vero is able to sit back and disagree and they haven't had to be proactive, they've shown no desire to cooperate." 

"We just don't have time for this," Lily said.

In a statement, Vero said they're not solely responsible for all the delays but have also apologised for the time and toll this has taken.

"Vero is committed to resolving this claim as quickly as possible, and discussed next steps with a representative of the body corporate today."