Sarah-Alice Miles

Driven by my experiences in the industry and with the post-disaster reconstruction phase of Christchurch City I have now turned my attention to the challenges posed by climate change. I invite you to read The Insurance Aftershock: the Christchurch Fiasco 2010-2016.

I intend to bring awareness of post-catastrophe insurance issues to property owners around the world.

About Me

Sarah-Alice Miles

Natural disaster survivor and multidisciplinary professional who cares about the personal health and well-being of disaster affected populations.

Hi, My name is Sarah-Alice Miles. My home was badly damaged in the September 4th, 2010 earthquake in Christchurch City in New Zealand during a 7.1 earthquake which was followed by another 12,000 subsequent earthquakes between 2010-2012. My home and business were seriously affected. Despite New Zealand’s very high residential property insurance coverage (95%) this Western society was little prepared for what would follow. Immediately after the earthquakes I was an active participant in a specialized ‘Flying Squad’, a team specializing in triage for the most seriously traumatically affected. Later I went on to advocate for insurance policyholders in a legal capacity. These experiences led me to research and write about natural disasters and insurance in the hope that policyholders and policymakers around the world can benefit from my experiences and the knowledge gained. I continue to speak and write and contribute internationally on topics relating to insurance, disaster management, urban planning and climate change.  I believe that these topics require a serious global discussion and my writings form my contribution to that discussion.  


My Books


The Christchurch Fiasco 2010-2016

In the aftermath of Christchurch’s devastating seismic catastrophe of 2010/2012, the slow and confused recovery phase that followed led Miles to examine the insurance industry, locally and globally. This has revealed a clear pattern of corporate greed at the expense of citizens and has shown that the profit-driven model of private insurance can, and very often does, fail those who have paid-up policies based on ‘good-faith’ responses that are their due. In addition, the failure of government to hold the private insurers to account, leaving the matter of protection of citizens in the hands of ‘the market’, raises huge questions about the responsibilities of government towards its citizens in times of disaster.


This is a gritty analysis and her findings are both surprising and disturbing. This is not a book about idealistic sociological concepts, but a revelation of actual Government administrative failure and financial risk-taking, in concert with corporate malfeasance. It is a book every homeowner, policy-maker, politician, local-government official, Treasury official and economist, should read.

Urban Planning for Disaster Recovery

Urban Planning for Disaster Recovery focuses on disaster recovery from the perspective of urban planning, an underutilized tactic that can significantly reduce disaster risks. The book examines disaster risk reduction (DRR), in particular, the recovery stage of what is widely known as the disaster cycle.


The theoretical underpinning of the book derives from a number of sources in urban planning and disaster management literature, and is illustrated by a series of case studies. It consists of five sections, each of which opens with a conceptual framework that is followed by a series of supporting and illustrative cases as practical examples. These examples both complement and critique the theoretical base provided, demonstrating the need to apply the concepts in location-specific ways.

Reader's Review

Sarah Miles has written an excellent overview of the insurance industry’s response to the 2010/2011 Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes. If you ever have to make an insurance claim following a natural disaster, read this book, it has a lot to say about insurance company motivations and practices. The author has clearly done a great deal of research and analysis.

The hardest thing about reading this book was that I’ve lived through this disaster, I’ve experienced these events over 5+ years and become somewhat used to insurers behaving badly. I read the book over several nights, and reading the events of 5+ years condensed into such a short space of time was disturbing. This is most definitely not the fault of the author. If you have a major insurance claim, you need to read this book.

Marisa Taylor

An incredible review of insurance issues in Christchurch five years after the tragic earthquakes that devastated our city. This book is an immense undertaking and is recommended for anyone dealing with Insurers.

Joanne Byrne

This book really helped me understand what has been and is going on since the start of the Canterbury/Christchurch earthquake disasters and how disappointing and very stressful it has been for insurance claimants to get an accurate assessment of their damage and reach a timely and satisfactory claim settlement with any of the insurance companies involved. Also that major reform of EQC was needed, as they being the first responder to all earthquake effected properties, were overwhelmed and in hindsight should have allowed policy holders to contact their insurers and then the insurers claims assessors access each claim and inform EQC know what they were liable to pay in compensation to any of their policy holder customers. Thankyou very much Sarah-Alice Miles for everything you have done to keep others informed on this insurance debacle and especially greatly appreciate you writing this very informative, inspiring and much valued book.

Patrice Kiwi

Twitter Feeds

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