The Insurance Council of New Zealand – Te Kāhui Inihui o Aotearoa – is urging those affected by the tornado that ripped through the South Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe on Saturday 19 June, to stay safe and reach out to their insurer for support.

“It is exactly these types of sudden unexpected events that your insurer is there to support you with – and we know insurers have already been providing support to their customers,” says Tim Grafton, Chief Executive ICNZ.

“Everyone’s priority should always be their own and their family’s safety, alongside their friends and neighbours. Once the initial shock has passed they can turn their attention to the tidy up with their insurer there to help them get things back to normal.”

ICNZ says that as the extent of the damage starts to be seen today insurers call centres may be under pressure due to volume, so customers should also check their websites and use online forms to lodge their claims if possible.

The following list provides some steps to help with the response and to support a smooth claim process.

  • Make your home safe and sanitary but don’t do non-essential repairs.
  • If safe to do so, try to protect your home from further damage.
  • Get essential services repaired and keep copies of invoices.
  • Take photos of any damage and note details of valuable items, and don’t dispose of anything until you’ve spoken to your insurer. It will help speed up assessments of your claims.
  • Take photos of perishable or unsanitary items before you dispose of them.
  • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property.
  • Always wear protective gear, including gloves and masks, in case you’re exposed to hazardous material.

For those with homes that are uninhabitable due to damage from the tornado, they may be eligible for a temporary accommodation benefit included in most home and contents policies. “If you’re in this situation ask your insurer what support they can offer you.”

ICNZ will be on the ground alongside emergency services to help customers to answer insurance questions. They will based at the welfare centre set up at Allan Brewster Leisure Centre, 7 Tavern Lane, Papatoetoe, on the afternoon of Sunday 20 June.

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