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Vero tells insurers ‘don’t apologise’ for Canterbury

Vero tells insurers ‘don’t apologise’ for Canterbury

In an insulting and bizarre statement, the boss of one of New Zealand’s biggest insurance companies told his industry not to apologise for the appalling way it has handled Canterbury earthquake claims, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission Spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.

“Vero chief executive Gary Dransfield is reported as saying the reason insurance is a political issue is not the insurance industry’s slow and frustrating response but is because of political dynamics in Canterbury.

“He said insurance companies should not, ‘stand idly by while others use criticism of private insurance companies as convenient diversion from inadequate public planning and administration’.

“This is frankly bizarre and insulting, especially coming from this company whose parent company Suncorp made a 264 per cent increase in earnings in New Zealand in the past year[1].

It also flies in the face of all the evidence.

“The latest numbers show insurance companies have finished only 15 per cent of rebuilds and 10 per cent of ‘over cap’ repairs in three years. There are 4000 people still waiting for insurer-led rebuilds.

“Of insurer-led repairs that cost over $100,000, less than 10 per cent of 7000 homes have been completed.

“Gerry Brownlee was described as getting ‘a bit of a shock’ when he heard, saying: ‘I was of the view they were doing better than that’. Gerry Brownlee must be the only person in Canterbury to be surprised by those figures.

“After three years of the insurance sector dragging the chain on earthquake victims they need to get the message –they have an obligation to their customers to settle claims within a reasonable timeframe, to help customers and not constantly fight them for every dollar to try to minimise the industry’s exposure.

“Rather than being shocked, Minister Brownlee should put the heat on the sector to look after people and lift its game. The Minster’s role is to stick up for earthquake victims and not be a passive observer cuddling up to the insurance industry,” says Clayton Cosgrove.

ends

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Gordon Campbell:
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