FMG looks back at year since Motueka hailstorm

FMG looks back at year since Motueka hailstorm | Insurance Business New Zealand

FMG looks back at year since Motueka hailstorm

It has been just over a year since the devastating Boxing Day hailstorm hit Motueka on Dec. 26, 2020. Rural insurer FMG looked back at how it and the community responded to the catastrophe.

The hailstorm, which lasted from 20 to 30 minutes, brought large hailstones that damaged crops, homes and vehicles in Motueka, covering the ground in a layer of hail up to seven inches deep.

Read more: Motueka hailstorm damage tipped to exceed $100 million

FMG said that it had contacted impacted clients to check on their safety within 24 hours of the hailstorm. The next day, it had sent personnel to the ground to begin assessing damage. On Dec. 28, the company secured local roofing suppliers to begin repairing properties.

By April, FMG had paid out $15.7 million in claims. The insurer also attended community meetings to support clients with their claims and brought in experts to assist in short- and long-term recovery efforts.

According to FMG, it ensured that claims payout matched with the seasonal grower cheque to help farmers avoid cash-flow issues.

The hailstorm had a significant effect on hail cover, including the withdrawal of a specialist crop insurer.

“Due to this event and other global factors our reinsurance partners reassessed and reduced the support they were willing to offer for orchard fruit and kiwifruit policy cover in 2021,” said Chris Bailey, head of reinsurance at FMG.

As a result of the withdrawal, FMG took on a significantly higher share of the risk to ensure that cover is available to those who were able to secure it for this growing season.

According to FMG, its kiwifruit hail top-up cover reached full capacity in September for the Bay of Plenty region for the 2021-22 season.

“Despite the limits on capacity, we continue to support kiwifruit growers and we’re the only insurer to offer this type of insurance this season,” Bailey said.