Esk Valley. Photo: Florence Charvin
Esk Valley. Photo: Florence Charvin

Rural insurer FMG have closed 80% of Cyclone Gabrielle and Auckland Anniversary weekend floods claims.

FMG’s recovery manager Jacqui McIntosh told BayBuzz the insurer had received more than 11,599 claims from Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland Anniversary Weekend Flood Events, of which 4,619 were from clients in Hawke’s Bay.

She said the two events made up the biggest job FMG had faced in its 118-year history and saw more claims received than from the Kaikōura and Canterbury earthquakes combined.

“We have paid out more than $224 million into impacted communities. This includes $158 million in Hawke’s Bay,” McIntosh said.

The top five claims groups for Hawke’s Bay include farm buildings, residential dwellings, domestic contents, other vehicles (such as farm vehicles like tractors) and EQC claims for land.

McIntosh said, nearly a year on from the cyclone, the insurer was still receiving new claims.

“We are still receiving new claims in relation to these events as the full extent of the damage and devastation to our clients is realised,” she said.

“For some people, this might be finally getting round to claim on something like fridge or freezer contents and other clients might have discovered new damage or missing items as a result of the severe weather.”

The geographical area of the claims itself was widespread due to having a “significant” rural market share in Hawke’s Bay, she said.

McIntosh said that learning from the past and the company’s rural expertise helped them to get money back into impacted communities faster than ever before.

“With a high number of impacted members on the East Coast, we knew we needed to move quickly, and move people around the business to increase the number of our people on the phones,” she said.

“The claims rolled in exponentially and we quickly saw the impacts these events had had on our clients, their homes, businesses, and livelihoods. These are the type of claims that are all consuming for all involved.

“Every FMG client with an open flood or Cyclone related claim from earlier this year has an assigned FMG consultant to work with. It’s amazing what is learnt in the process of navigating some of these claims.”

She said FMG was aware there was long road of recovery ahead for many with claims to settle and acknowledged the sometimes-challenging processes to fully understand the damage sustained, the value of property and if it can be repaired or replaced.

“We still have clients facing uncertainty around the future of their homes and businesses. It is important that time is taken to make sure we all understand the future risks to people and property.”

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