Tower chairman frustrated over claims holdouts

by Mina Martin 31 Mar 2017

Tower chairman frustrated over claims holdouts

The boss of an NZX-listed insurer has expressed frustration over claims holdouts as the company’s financial performance continues to be impacted by the legacy of the Canterbury earthquakes.

Tower chairman Michael Stiassny has slammed some customers impacted by the Canterbury earthquakes for holding out on settlements to boost their returns from Tower.

“A number of these people are not in any form of hardship, and are basically engaging in actions to maximise returns,” Stiassny said at the insurer’s annual meeting, as reported by Fairfax Media. “That’s what I’m entitled to be aggrieved about as chairman of an insurance company.”

He also claimed that a number of lawyers and engineers make a business out of taking claims to court.

The Kiwi insurer posted a $21.5 million loss in the year to the end of September 2016.

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Chief executive Richard Harding said additional provisions for Canterbury has caused a $25.3 million impact on the insurer, after more “overcap” claims had been discovered by EQC six years after the event, the report said.

“The legacy from the Canterbury earthquakes remains a difficult and complex situation,” Harding told Fairfax. “The ongoing claims development situation is being faced by all insurers.

“Unfortunately, as the only listed pure New Zealand general insurer, it is most visible with us. We are the canary in the coal mine,” he said. “Six years on, insurers still do not have clarity on the number and value of claims that remain.”


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