Insurers in New Zealand braced for Cyclone Gabrielle claims
More than an estimated 40,000 claims are being dealt with so far
Insurers are prepared to handle thousands of claims that will arise because of Cyclone Gabrielle.
The cyclone hit the North Island of New Zealand, leading to the government announcing a national state of emergency on 14 February due to the devastation – this is the third time in history this has happened. Nearly a third of the country’s population live in the affected regions.
“The severity and the damage that we are seeing has not been experienced in a generation,” said Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. “We are still building a picture of the effects of the cyclone as it continues to unfold. But what we do know is the impact is significant and it is widespread.”
People have been advised to make claims online, rather than via phone, so phone lines remain free for those who need urgent assistance.
Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ) Chief Executive, Tim Grafton said: “While Gabrielle is yet to pass, insurers are already prepared with all available staff on hand to get on with accepting claims, prioritising those displaced from their homes or otherwise needing extra care.”
Insurers are already dealing with more than an estimated 40,000 claims so far arising from New Zealand’s largest climate event to date over 27 January and 2 February.
“People should put their own safety, and that of their family, first,” said Grafton. “House and contents policies typically include temporary accommodation benefits, including those held by renters. If it’s not possible to stay in your home, call your insurer as soon as possible. If you are able to stay in your home, it is best to lodge your insurance claim online.”
Insurers had already mobilised staff from across New Zealand, Australia and further afield to help deal with claims from earlier in the month. They are already in place, ready to continue to systematically work through claims.