Insurance advisory: flooding in Upper North Island

The Insurance Council of NZ advises people affected by flood damage with the weather related events in the Upper North Island to contact their insurer as soon as possible.

“After keeping yourself safe, taking photographic evidence of the flooding and damage to your property will help with your claims assessment and if you need to move damaged or contaminated goods from your house for health and safety reasons” said Tim Grafton, Insurance Council Chief Executive.

Tips for recovery:

  • Contact your insurer, or insurance adviser
  • Act safely to prevent more damage to your building
  • Try to make the buildings safe and weatherproof
  • Take pictures of the damage (buildings and contents) for insurance claims
  • Keep all damaged items for inspection
  • Get essential services repaired e.g. water, electricity, gas, sewerage – keep copies of your bills
  • Make a list and take pictures of any perishables you have to dispose of
  • Don’t start non-essential repairs without your insurance company’s approval.
  • If water has entered electrical plugs and sockets it would be advisable to have your electrical systems checked by a licensed electrician.

The extent of the insured damage will not be known for some weeks.  “The priority now is for insurers to get assessors out to communities and get the claims process underway” says Grafton.

With more heavy rain expected today and over the weekend, the Insurance Council of NZ advises people in Northland, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty to get as much of their home contents out of harms ways, secure heavy outdoor objects and park vehicles in garages if possible.

Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton says “if you have a holiday home in the affected areas and aren’t able to check it yourself, we are advising people to call on their permanent resident neighbours to do that for them if possible”.

“Improving community resilience to extreme weather events is now a priority” he said.  “New Zealand has to plan and adapt in ways that will reduce the impact of natural disasters because every dollar spent in pre-disaster adaptation measures saves many more after the event”.

Insurance Council asks Dunne to come clean on funding emergency services

The Insurance Council of New Zealand is asking Internal Affairs Minister and United Future Leader to come clean about how he would fund a national emergency response service. 

“Mr Dunne is currently proposing a 40% increase on 1 July in the tax that people who insure their properties pay to fund the merger of New Zealand’s fire services under one organisation.  That will come at a heavy cost for some and discourage people from protecting themselves with insurance,” Chief Executive of the Insurance Council Tim Grafton said.

“Now, Mr Dunne is proposing that the newly merged body, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), take over all civil defence and ambulance operations around the country.  Unless, there is a commitment to fund FENZ from general taxation for the public good it will provide, it is monstrously unfair to load the burden for running a mega emergency service by taxing those who insure their own property,” he said. 

“This is election year and we challenge all political parties to commit funding our emergency services fairly and sustainably.  Unless this happens, the direction the Minister is proposing will see people not insuring.  If anything has been learned since the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes, it is that New Zealand is one of the riskiest countries in the world for natural disaster losses and that insurance is essential to manage that risk.”


First Fair Insurance Code data released

The Insurance Council of New Zealand released today its first Fair Insurance Code annual report of the number of claims received, the number of complaints made to internal and external dispute resolution schemes, along with the number of significant breaches.

Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton said “Fourteen upheld complaints out of over 1.12 million claims certainly puts in perspective that insurers are meeting high standards of service and resolving almost all claims.” (more…)

Insurers settle $2.7 billion Canterbury claims in 2016

The Insurance Council of New Zealand announced today that private insurers have paid out nearly $2.7 billion in 2016 to settle commercial and residential claims resulting from the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.   Of the $2.7 billion, $1.6 billion was for domestic claims and $1.1 billion was commercial claim payments.

In 2016 private insurers settled 3,860 over cap property claims and had 1,258 new over cap claims transferred from EQC.  Insurers completed construction on 1,470 properties and cash settled 2,390 properties in 2016.  Of the 1,470 properties where construction was completed, 907 were rebuilds and 563 were major repairs.

“A total of 171 properties were transferred to insurers from EQC in the last quarter of 2016, a sharp fall from the 290 the previous quarter. The slow-down of overcaps coming across from EQC and the settlement progress in 2016 is encouraging.  However, it will be critical to ensure the response to the Kaikoura earthquakes does not slow the pace of settlement of the remaining claims as quickly as possible” said Tim Grafton, Chief Executive of the Insurance Council (ICNZ).

Grafton said “insurers have now fully settled $19.4 billion, or 86% of over cap residential Canterbury earthquake claims and 95% of all residential property claims.  Over 95% of Commercial claims have now been settled.”

Based on data jointly collected by ICNZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), 89% (23,685) of all over cap residential claims are resolved or have been fully settled.  Resolved means the repair/rebuild is under construction, in consenting or a building contract has been signed.  A further 9% (2,283) of the 26,608 over cap claims are in resolution, meaning the rebuild/repair is in the pricing and design process or cash settlement is pending.

Of the properties still to be completed, the number of customers who are still to receive offers from their private insurer is down to 217 and there are 240 properties where people have yet to make decisions on the offers they’ve received, and 183 new claims being validated.

“Customers who have queries or concerns should seek help from the Residential Advisory Service (RAS).  RAS is cost-free, totally independent and can help provide advice and assistance that may help people progress their claim.  This service won’t be around forever and so we are urging people to make contact with the RAS or their insurer if they are unsure about the offer they’ve received” he said.

For further details see this link “Canterbury Earthquake Progress Stats Q4 2016”.


Kaikoura earthquake business claims reach $900 million

The Insurance Council of New Zealand announced today that private insurers have received business claims valued at more than $900 million from the 14 November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. 

Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton said “it is early days and the figures may change but indications are that there are more than 2,500 commercial material damage and business interruption claims worth more than $900 million.”  These figures do not include claims made where assets have been insured directly with offshore insurers. 

Wellington region has taken the brunt of business losses with two thirds (65%) of the total losses, followed by Upper South Island at 25%, Canterbury at 8% and the remaining 2% from other North Island claims. 

It is too early to indicate the value of residential claims.  Homeowners have until 14 February to notify their insurers of any claims.