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Largest insurer impacted by adverse weather

IAG New Zealand Limited
18 February 2004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA RELEASE

Largest insurer impacted by adverse weather

The country’s largest general insurer, IAG New Zealand, said it expects to have a clearer picture of property damage costs by the end of the week as it mobilises itself for further inclement weather in the central and lower North Island.

The insurer, which is better known through its insurance brands of State and NZI, said claims enquiries were up by 30% and it already had more than 1,000 separate claims under management as a direct result of the storms.

Chief Executive David Smith said the weather was stretching resources on the ground and through its call centres, but extra help had been brought in to manage the work. “The challenge is actually getting our people into properties to assess damage. Like those impacted by the evacuations we’re only now getting access in many cases,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith said IAG NZ staff were working around the clock and had been busy prioritising claims and helping people into temporary accommodation since the weekend. “Customers’ health and safety was always the first priority in these events,” he said.

The majority of damage to date related to wet carpet in flooded houses, submerged motor vehicles, and commercial claims, Mr Smith said. He expected business interruption to be a factor for small commercial businesses going forward, particularly in the farming community.

Mr Smith said State customers affected can contact 0800 80 24 24 for help if they haven’t already. NZI customers impacted should call 0800 800 800.

“Obviously this sort of weather is totally unexpected in February and is traditionally the sort of seasonal activity you’d expect in the middle of winter,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith said flooding was still the most significant cause of claims disasters in New Zealand attributing for more than 65% of all weather related claims. “Unfortunately, this situation is only likely to be exacerbated further by global warming and climate change,” he said.


-Ends-

About IAG New Zealand

IAG New Zealand Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Insurance Australia Group (IAG) Australasia’s largest general insurer. In New Zealand it trades under the State and NZI insurance brands and underwrites general insurance business for some of the country’s leading financial institutions. It has approximately 40% share of the general insurance market and manages 2.5 million policies on behalf of more than 1 million New Zealanders.

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