New Zealand insurer Tower has begun assessing the impact of the underwater volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami in Tonga and surrounding areas.
The Jan. 15 eruption of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai caused a huge shockwave, sending tsunamis across the Pacific that reached New Zealand and California.
“Our focus is on supporting our people and customers in Tonga who have been affected by this natural disaster,” said Blair Turnbull, CEO of Tower. “We are grateful that all our team members are safe. Our Nuku’alofa branch is now open and we are assisting customers who have been severely impacted.”
Turnbull said that such large-scale events are accounted for in Tower’s business plans. Aside from its robust reinsurance programme, the insurer is in a “strong position” to support its customers in Tonga throughout the recover process.
Tower’s reinsurance programme provides up to $873 million of cover for catastrophe events. Its reinsurance excess for such events is $11.25 million, which is within the $20 million the insurer has allotted for large events in FY22.
Around 2,500 of Tower’s 310,000 total customers are in Tonga, mostly in the personal lines of business. The Tonga branch also has around 300 commercial customers.