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Polar Blast Expected to Trigger Insurance Claims

18 August 2011

Polar Blast Expected to Trigger Insurance Claims

The week-long Polar Blast that covered much of New Zealand in snow and ice with freezing temperatures, biting cold windstorms, hail and rain and forcing the closure of schools, state highways and the cancellation of air travel up and down the country is expected to trigger thousands of insurance claims, the Insurance Council says.

Insurance Council Chief Executive, Chris Ryan, says an already stretched insurance industry is gearing up to deal with what’s expected to be a huge increase in insurance claims as people return to normality and assess damage to homes, businesses and property.

“The atrocious weather conditions over the past week will see an expected increase in insurance claims ranging from claims for collapsed structures, broken water pipes caused by freezing temperatures and claims for vehicles involved in accidents caused by the freezing conditions. Businesses forced to close as a result of the weather who have business insurance cover will also be looking to recoup their losses.”

Chris Ryan says insurers are also reporting significant travel insurance claims from stranded passengers in the South Island whose air travel plans were disrupted as a result of snow and weather issues, including delays to scheduled international and domestic flights.

Insurance loss adjusters are expected to be out in force assessing the extent of the damage caused by the week-long unprecedented Polar Blast.

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“This weather event will place some pressure on insurers already dealing with the Christchurch earthquake but as insurers have proven time and again, legitimate claims will be settled as quickly as possible. These extreme weather events are a reminder to us all that adequate insurance cover is necessary to protect valuable property assets and life and limb.”

Chris Ryan said people directly affected could help loss adjustors with their claims by keeping a record of the damage to their property. He encouraged people to photograph damage where possible and list items that are damaged or destroyed. Securing property to make it water tight would also minimize potential water damage in the event of more rain and assist in the insurance claims process.

ENDS

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