New Zealand insurance group Suncorp has pledged $200,000 to the Prime Minister’s Cyclone Gabrielle Appeal Fund to support the ongoing recovery efforts in various communities across the North Island of the country.
The pledge was announced by Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston yesterday in Auckland, where he has been visiting impacted customers and assessing the situation on site with Suncorp NZ chief executive Jimmy Higgins.
“Having met with customers who have had their lives turned upside down by the recent weather events, I know what an incredibly challenging and emotional time this is for many people,” Johnston said. “As a trans-Tasman insurer, Suncorp Group is well equipped to throw our full support behind our customers here in New Zealand. We have people across both New Zealand and Australia dedicated to the recovery and have flown in additional claims specialists and assessors to support the local team.”
Johnston also highlighted the insurer’s role is to deliver the best possible claims experience in helping their customers recover as quickly as possible. This donation serves to contribute to the recovery and rebuild efforts in the affected communities.
Higgins said that there will be a long road to recovery ahead for the impacted communities given the enormity of the disasters. However, he said that customers can rest assured that Suncorp will be there for them “every step of the way.”
“We are highly experienced at supporting customers through large-scale natural disaster recovery events, having helped customers and communities get back on their feet following the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, the 2016 Kaikoura quakes and the 2022 flooding event on the east coast of Australia,” Higgins said.
He also noted that the claims across the groups’ Vero and AAI Insurance brands following the flooding and Cyclone disasters have reached more than 22,000, and they teams are now triaging and processing them as quickly as possible. Higgins said that the insurer has secured trades and build coordinators to help get impacted customers back on their feet.
Recognising the significant damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle throughout the communities across North Island, Higgins expressed hope that any support that the insurer can provide to the Appeal Fund can help restore the lives of community groups and commercial structures in affected areas that serve as backbone for the local residents.
“Suncorp remains committed to working with all sectors of the community to build more resilient and sustainable communities to ensure insurance protection is both affordable and accessible well into the future,” Higgins said.
In a separate statement, Vero Insurance executive manager for rural Sonya Whitney acknowledged that Cyclone Gabrielle could be “the most expensive weather event ever” for rural insurance in the country.
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