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Discontent over earthquake insurance

Discontent over earthquake insurance - 19 August

41 percent of respondents rate the overall performance of their insurance company’s response to claims as ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’ while only 18 percent rated their performance positively according to a New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA) survey. The survey assessed damage after the June earthquakes and the performance of insurance companies and Government organisations. It showed that significant further damage has occurred setting back rebuilding plans. Overall there was significant dissatisfaction with the performance of insurance companies but the response to the efforts of the City Council, Civil Defence and the Central Government rated much better. Results from the survey are available here .

NZMEA Chief Executive John Walley says, “We have had complaints from a number of sources that insurance companies have been slow to pay out and this is obviously frustrating for firms wanting to get on with business rather than chasing insurance companies. At the extreme end a couple of firms have had to employ third parties to manage their claims.”

“Comments expressed concerns about insurance companies delaying claims, not responding to emails and only dealing with issues after being chased. Insurance companies have the experience and should be guiding claimants through the process rather than putting up roadblocks – it seems incredible that insurance companies would not have procedures in place to manage the claims process, after all these events are their business. QBE was rated poorly by all respondents insured and while it must be noted that some respondents did report a good experience with their insurers there were no companies that scored consistently well.”

“There have also been some concerns with new policies with excess required for a claim going up from $2,500 to between $100,000 and $200,000 in some cases. While it is understandable that costs will increase this leaves firms completely uncovered for a small event.”

“Government organisations received a better rating from respondents but anyone in the ‘red zone’ reported many problems accessing their buildings and with any documentation required on building fitness. Problems with officials losing reports on building work completed and attempting to demolish buildings without consent were reported.”


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