The following advice has been received from the Insurance Council.
The Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ) urges those affected by floods and extreme rain across Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and other areas of Te Ika-a-Māui The North Island to put their safety first, heed the advice of local authorities and contact their insurer early.
"Contact your insurer early if you suffer flood or storm damage, especially if you need to arrange emergency accommodation or repairs; which should only be done if it is safe to do so," said ICNZ Chief Executive Tim Grafton. "Stay out of flood water and always treat it as contaminated if it is in, or has been through, your home or vehicle."
This is a very significant event which will result in a lot of claims. As always when such events occur, insurers will be gearing up their call centres and arranging for staff to help customers.
Only when a claim has been lodged can insurers start to deal with it, so it is important to do this early. For many, the quickest and easiest way to lodge a claim is through their insurer’s website.
When there is an event of this scale, insurers will typically prioritise claims to help those most effected, especially when people require emergency accommodation or are otherwise vulnerable.
"It’s in the best interests of both the customer and the insurer to have claims settled as quickly as possible. Insurers will always try to prioritise those in greatest need when there is a major claims event. Likewise with organising repair work, there will typically be very high demand for assessors, tradies, building materials and other commonly damaged goods. This can mean repairs and replacements may well take longer than if they were required outside of such an event," added Tim. "But right now, staying safe is the priority"
When it comes to dealing with floods and storms, ICNZ offers the following advice:
- Continue to follow the instructions of Civil Defence and emergency services providers
- Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property
- Contact your insurer as soon as you can
- Avoid entering flood water, either on foot or in a vehicle. Flood water can contain raw sewage and contaminants, conduct electricity and mask hidden hazards, and poses a serious hazard to health. It may be deeper, or moving faster, than you expect
- Try to make buildings safe and weatherproof but don’t make any emergency repairs unless it is safe to do so. Don't start non-essential repairs without your insurance company’s approval
- If water has entered your property, don't turn on your electricity until it has been inspected by an electrician
- Get essential services, such as water, electricity, gas and sewerage, repaired and keep copies of any invoices
- Do what’s necessary to make your home safe and sanitary. When cleaning, wear a mask, gloves and overalls to minimise exposure to possibly-hazardous materials
- Take pictures and make a list of any perishables you have to dispose of
- Photograph, remove and discard any water or mud-damaged goods that pose a health risk, such as saturated carpets and soft furnishings
- Take photos of any other damaged property to help speed up the assessments and claims process
- Mark, and take a photo of where flood water reached its highest within your property
- Keep any damaged items that don’t pose a health and safety risk
- Do not drive your vehicle if it has suffered water damage
Westpac has announced relief for affected customers. Their statement includes this:
Westpac NZ is offering financial support to personal and business customers affected by flooding.
The relief package features a range of possible support options for both business and personal customers. These may include:
- Suspension of principal payments for up to three months on home loans and business loans;
- Deferred payment on business credit cards for up to three months;
- A temporary overdraft facility for business customers.
Consumer customers requiring access to term deposit funds should also contact the bank.
This is from ASB.
ASB is available to support customers who may require emergency financial assistance as a result of the recent weather events. Emergency assistance can be offered to personal, farming and business customers on a case-by-case basis, including:
- Option to suspend home loan principal repayments for up to three months.
- Overdraft of up to $10,000 for ASB home loan customers and up to $2,000 for other ASB personal customers, or other tailored solutions depending on the customer’s circumstances.
- Tailored solutions for eligible ASB business and rural customers including access to working capital of up to $100,000.