See How MWH Did It
Photo by Francis Vallance.


The 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and aftershocks that destroyed or damaged more than 150,000 homes, properties and other infrastructure in Christchurch, New Zealand hit with unexpected intensity for over 18 months and rank as one of the world’s costliest natural disasters in over 60 years. Multiple quakes left the city with hundreds of thousands of personal and commercial claims, and its leaders and residents shaken, yet determined to rebuild their devastated city.

MWH was engaged by Suncorp Group insurers Vero Insurance New Zealand (Vero) and AA Insurance (AAI) following the first earthquake in 2010 to help manage their claims. Two days after receiving the go ahead, our team mobilized and began to source program management staff and a team of skilled suppliers including engineers, program managers and building contractors to tackle the job. The task would expand with each subsequent major quake event to total 15,000 individual projects. We exceeded client expectations, completing the commercial project ahead of schedule and our part of the $5 billion NZD ($3.2 billion USD) Suncorp project.

Having the MWH Recovery team in place following the first earthquake proved to be fortuitous as the subsequent quakes were much more destructive and required a substantial increase in essential resources. Primed to respond quickly, MWH, in collaboration with key suppliers, acted immediately to reassess the damage and add resources to handle the growing volume of increasingly complex repairs and rebuilds.

With the goal to implement recovery measures as rapidly as possible, Vero, AAI and MWH staff worked side-by-side from initial damage survey through to construction close out and claim settlement. Within four months, we had implemented an innovative, flexible project management system that helped the team track and report progress on each claim and subsequent repair or rebuild. The system proved an integral element in speeding recovery efforts and served as a valuable resource for group reinsurers and actuaries.

“We could not have achieved the significant progress that we have without MWH Recovery’s pure and genuine determination to get things sorted for our customers so that they may move on with their lives.”

Justine Burn

Head of Canterbury Earthquake Response, AA Insurance

Aiming to settle claims and restore policy holders to normalcy in the shortest time possible, MWH assembled a team of global experts and synchronized our efforts to operate seamlessly from day one. Representing a diverse blend of specialty skills, the team of project management and construction managers, as well as technical and procurement specialists, created a model for success that operated efficiently and reduced cost. We worked through multiple earthquakes, collaborated with Vero and AAI to promote positive involvement with local business and community leaders involved in the recovery and reassured our clients’ customers via an ongoing supply of information that demonstrated our commitment and customer focus.

One of the largest and most complex insurance recovery programs of its kind anywhere in the world, the Christchurch recovery project was a model of commitment and teamwork that made it possible for thousands of Vero and AAI customers to move on with their lives thanks to one team, working together in partnership.