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New Zealand Insurers Agree To Sector Wide Pledge To Support Customers During Covid-19 Crisis

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) and its members have announced a set of core principles they have each pledged to use to guide their individual response to support their customers and suppliers during the Covid-19 crisis.

Tim Grafton, CE ICNZ, says the principles are the result of the industry banding together as it responds to the evolving Covid-19 situation and the various challenges it presents for the sector to support.

"Together our members, which represent all insurance except health and life insurance, are committed to continuing to provide good advice, good service and a good claims experience for all New Zealanders - regardless of the challenging and uncertain times we find ourselves in."

Insurance plays a critical role in times of crisis protecting over $1 trillion of New Zealand’s assets and liabilities. It is also a major employer and contractor of services, supporting thousands of families to maintain their incomes in these challenging times.

Mr Grafton says; "Insurance is a vital service to support the financial resilience of New Zealand - and it is still very much open to support its customers and their claims.

"As an identified essential service during the Alert Level 4 period customers can have confidence that insurers will continue to help their customers - regardless of where or how their staff are working."

The 10 core insurance principles for Covid-19 are:

1. We are an essential service that is open for business and will take all necessary steps to maintain operations to safeguard and protect New Zealand

2. We will continue to handle all insurance claims and support our customers

3. We will respond flexibly and responsibly to those in genuine financial hardship or are vulnerable or have difficulties communicating with us

4. We urge all customers to contact their insurer if they are in genuine financial hardship

5. We will continue to meet the high standards set in the Fair Insurance Code that cover all our dealings with customers https://www.icnz.org.nz/fair-insurance-code/. If the crisis prevents us from meeting the time-frames in the Code to respond to claims or complaint we will explain why and keep you informed about the progress of your claim at least every 20 days

6. We will be transparent and open in all our communications

7. We will use our repair networks and suppliers (where appropriate or possible) to settle claims, noting as an essential service we are limited to making repairs to when our customers’ health and safety is at risk or to support those in essential services

8. We and our agents will always strictly adhere to all health and safety requirements including measures to reduce and eliminate the spread of Covid-19

9. We recognise the critical importance of our supply chains and the cash-flow pressures they may be under, so we will ensure there is prompt payment for their services

10. We will work with our brokers and distributors of insurance to help them to support their clients and our customers. We urge all businesses to work with their broker and insurer to ensure they have the appropriate insurance in place during the crisis.

"Our members appreciate that the coming months will bring many new challenges for both them and their customers," says Mr Grafton.

"Should a customer find themselves facing financial hardship we urge them to contact their insurer or broker who can talk them through a range of measures to ensure their cover best meets their current needs.

All ICNZ members have activated their business contingency plans (BCP), scaling up their work from home capacity to protect their staff and are well equipped to maintain their level of service to their customers. Should a service be required in person all necessary steps to ensure it is done in a way that limits or eliminates the risk of spreading Covid-19 will be taken.

For further information

More information on essential services can be found at covid-19.govt.nz https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/essential-businesses/ and the list of insurers and their essential supply chain functions can be found on the RBNZ website https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2020/03/covid19-level-4-essential-services-financial-sector

About ICNZ and its members

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) is a representative body established in 1895 to represent fire and general insurance companies. It has 28 members who collectively write more than 95% of all fire and general insurance in New Zealand a full list can be found on our website -

https://www.icnz.org.nz/about-us/our-members/.

All Council members are licensed under the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010 and are signatories to the Fair Insurance Code that requires insurers to act ethically. The Council also performs an important role in informing and educating consumers about key insurance issues and risks.

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