Working with an insurance broker is a vital step to mitigating the potential damage caused by natural disasters according to NZbrokers, one of New Zealand’s largest insurance brokerage groups.
The April storm that raged through Auckland this year resulted in 13,000 claims costing more than $72 million, while the earlier January storm cost approximately $34 million, according to figures released by the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ). Figures compiled by NZbrokers also showed a 70% increase in the cost of insurance claims over the last three years, with a 56% increase in claims related specifically to storms and floods.
NZbrokers CEO Jo Mason says that businesses that have planned to handle a disaster event will significantly improve their chances of a successful recovery.
“Unfortunately, preparing a business continuity or resilience plan is often not the priority it deserves and the majority of SMEs have no disaster recovery plan in place,” says Mason.
“A business continuity plan will enable your business to respond to an emergency and continue to operate as normally as possible, working to minimise the interruption and cause the least possible inconvenience to staff, customers and visitors,” she explains. “There are a number of online tools to build your own plan, and an insurance broker can help coordinate your insurance programme to your business needs.”
According to broker services manager Simon Moss, ensuring financial protection is a vital step in dealing with the repercussions of a weather event, though it shouldn’t be the only consideration businesses have in place. Given the likelihood of certain high-risk areas becoming uninsurable, effective preparation becomes a balancing act of many different factors.
“As brokers, we try to educate clients on the importance of disaster recovery planning,” he says.
“We help them understand more about risk management, what steps they can take or who they could be speaking to in order to mitigate a risk before an event. But policies don’t eliminate risks, so it is more likely that the government will need to invest in climate resilience for job creation, job protection and business confidence.”