Insurers provide advice for North Island flood claims

Insurers provide advice for North Island flood claims | Insurance Business New Zealand

Insurers provide advice for North Island flood claims

With the North Island still being battered by storms and heavy rains, the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) has issued advice for businesses that are dealing with the damage and preparing insurance claims.

As the threat of rising floodwater remains, ICNZ advised business owners and staff to heed local warnings and take action to limit losses and damage. This includes putting things out of reach of potential flood water to come and moving vehicles to higher ground.

“Business insurance can cover everything from damage to premises, lost or damaged stock, equipment or goods owned by others, vehicles and cover for not being able to operate,” said ICNZ chief executive Tim Grafton. “As with others affected by this unprecedented climate-related event, business owners should register their claims with their insurer as soon as they can.”

ICNZ stressed that business owners should only enter their premises if it’s safe to do so and treat anything that has been in flood water as contaminated. Electricity in flooded buildings should not be turned on until it has been inspected by an electrician. After contacting the insurers, contaminated or damaged property should be photographed and put aside, taking care to deal with any hazardous materials appropriately.

ICNZ said that, after speaking to their insurers, business owners should be able to undertake emergency repairs to make their premises safe and secure.

Any vehicles or electrical equipment that has been flooded should not be used. In many cases, this may be written off, but insurer-appointed experts will likely inspect flooded items to see if repair is possible. Businesses that have business interruption cover can claim for loss of profit, up to policy limits, if property damage hampers their ability to maintain turnover.

“This event will be very difficult for many businesses,” Grafton said. “As with many householders, the sheer scale of this event means that, despite the best efforts of all involved, business owners can expect repairs and the supply of new stock and equipment to take longer than normal. The situation is made worse by the fact that some businesses that would ordinarily be involved in helping others recover aren’t now able to because of the loss and damage they have suffered.”

In case businesses need additional help and advice beyond insurance matters, ICNZ referred them to the MBIE’s website.

Meanwhile, major Kiwi insurer AA Insurance reminded customers who hold multiple policies with them they will only have to pay one excess for their claims, in case they experience damage to their home, contents and/or car caused by the Auckland Anniversary storm.

“The storm is causing widespread damage and customers may need to claim on their home, contents and car. If the damage is caused by the same event, customers only need to pay one excess,” AA Insurance acting chief executive Simon Hobbs said.

“The many Kiwis impacted by this devastating weather event are in our thoughts and we are focused on supporting customers who are unable to return to their homes. Our priority is ensuring customers’ immediate safety by arranging temporary accommodation, so they have a secure place to stay while their homes are assessed.

“Where vehicles are assessed as a total loss, we are focused on settling these claims as quickly as possible and getting money to our customers’ accounts so they can quickly source a replacement vehicle.”