NZ earthquake: Brokers on hand to assist claims

The Insurance Council of New Zealand are advising people to contact their insurer, broker as well as the Earthquake Commission as a result of the earthquakes including a 7.5 magnitude in the early hours of Monday morning.

Gary Young, CEO Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand (IBANZ) says that reports indicate all broker members in the area are safe and well, anticipating a busy time and on hand to assist with claims.

“All IBANZ member brokers are up and running as the epicentre of this event is not close to a main city.  However Wellington has experienced not only some earthquake damage but also flooding due to a storm which came through yesterday,” said Young

“At this stage the key is to document all damage and take photos, to assist in claim preparation. Brokers key role is to support clients. They need to ensure clients understand the extent of their insurance cover, managing expectations is important. Clients are reminded losses should be minimised as much as possible in the circumstances and that the right information is collected to prove the loss.  As we saw after the Christchurch earthquakes, claim outcomes are greatly improved when the insured has a pro-active, experienced adviser to assist them through what is often a confusing time for the insured.”

People who have suffered damage to their home, land or contents from the earthquakes have three months to lodge their claim with the Earthquake Commission (EQC). Commercial property owners should contact their brokers.

EQC chief executive Ian Simpson says that people have plenty of time to make a claim, after taking care of themselves, their families and friends.

“It can take some time for the picture regarding claims to emerge as people come to terms with what’s happened and had a chance to take stock of what’s happened to their properties,” Simpson says.

Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton says “taking photographic evidence of the damage to your property will help with your claims assessment and if you need to move damaged or contaminated goods from your house for health and safety reasons”.

Tips for recovery:

  • Contact your insurer, or insurance adviser
  • Act safely to prevent more damage to your property
  • Try to make the buildings safe and weatherproof
  • Take pictures of the damage (buildings and contents) for insurance claims
  • Keep all damaged items for inspection
  • Get essential services repaired e.g. water, electricity, gas, sewerage – keep copies of your bills
  • Make a list and take pictures of any perishables you have to dispose of
  • Don’t start non-essential repairs without your insurance company’s approval.

The extent of the insured damage will not be known for some weeks.