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Insurer CEO says prospects bright for Christchurch

Media Release

29 August 2012

Insurer CEO says prospects bright for Christchurch

The pace of the earthquake recovery is increasing and prospects for business in Christchurch and the Canterbury Region are outstanding.

Speaking at a Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce function in Christchurch today, the Chief Executive of Vero, Gary Dransfield said business leaders needed to be “confidently promoting the quality of the overall progress with Christchurch’s recovery and the outstanding prospects of this City”.

“My overall message today is one of optimism about the prospects for business in Christchurch, the pace and quality of the recovery effort and the ongoing contribution of insurance companies to the future of Christchurch,” Gary Dransfield said.

"I am not ignoring the plight of many businesses and households waiting patiently for progress with their insurance claims.

"Those of us with an active and responsible role in the recovery need to be both confident about the outlook and realistic about present challenges,” he said.

The rebuilding of Christchurch will contribute a large share of New Zealand’s economic growth from now until 2016.

The bulk of the funding for the rebuild will come from insurance and reinsurance contributions. That will be supplemented by local and international private sector investment capital, as well as Government funding.

“The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan is well conceived, imaginative and exciting,” Gary Dransfield said.

“Vero and other insurers are highly conscious of the need to not only support the Blueprint – but also ensure the pace of commercial and domestic rebuilding gives investors confidence about a full recovery in Christchurch.

“We need to attend to the needs of our current customers and also plan for the future of insurance in Christchurch.

“To ensure we continue to have adequate future insurance capacity for Christchurch we need to efficiently manage the current claims from the earthquakes,” he said.

The earthquakes will pave the way for changes in the way New Zealand thinks about the funding of disaster protection and the effective management of disasters after they occur.

“It is essential for insurers, CERA, the EQC, government, business and community to work cooperatively on the current recovery and planning for the future,” Gary Dransfield said.

“We have reached a tipping point.

“We can choose to absorb and use what we have learned to date to hasten the pace of the recovery and deliver a high quality rebuild.

“We can also use that learning to assist government and others as they plan the future of disaster management, earthquake insurance and related matters,” he said.

Vero is managing around 19,000 commercial and domestic claims, has completed over 30 per cent and paid out more than $1.5 billion to customers.

The company is pushing ahead with the start of rebuilds and all Vero domestic customers will have timeframes for their rebuilds or repairs by the end of September.

“Looking ahead, we continue to insure commercial and domestic properties in Christchurch,” Gary Dransfield said.

“Our focus is on the needs of our existing customers for aggregate earthquake and business interruption cover.

“We are also providing contract works cover for rebuilds that are part of our claims response and ongoing relationships with our current customers. We are planning to widen our risk appetite,” he said.


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