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Insurer Suncorp says Auckland customers will need to be realistic about repair timetable

Insurance / news
Insurer Suncorp says Auckland customers will need to be realistic about repair timetable

Insurer Suncorp says it will take at least a month before it knows how much Auckland’s flood damage will cost in claims and how its customers have been affected by the record-breaking weather.

Suncorp, which has the Vero and Asteron Life brands and the joint venture AA Insurance business in New Zealand, said the full scale of the disaster was yet to be realised and it would take time to assess the damage.

Nichola Young, executive manager at Vero New Zealand, said its teams “were working hard to set realistic expectations for customers around repairs”.

“We expect it will take between a month to six weeks to get a full view of the customer impact and the expected claims cost …  While certain types of damage should be able to be cleared up relatively quickly, there will be a longer wait for customers that have experienced the likes of total losses or land damage.”

Young said the insurer was experiencing high demand for assessors and had assessors coming from its parent company Suncorp Group to meet customer needs.

On Wednesday morning when it announced its half-year result, Suncorp said it had received more than 8000 claims from the Auckland weather event.

“The significance of this event has reached the corridors of global reinsurers who have supported New Zealand insurance markets over the years and events such as these will cause risk models to be updated,” chief executive Jimmy Higgins said.

Insurance experts have warned that a worst-case scenario from Auckland’s record-breaking storm was that parts of the city could become too expensive to insure. Climate change had changed the calculations for insurers, and they would take the maximum cautious approach to risk, academic Michael Naylor said.

In the first week following the event Suncorp said it had settled, or offered to settle, more than 1000 claims and had paid customers more than $5m in claims.

Suncorp’s profits rose to $91 million for the six months to December 31. It said its second-half result would likely be impacted by the Auckland weather event.

There is also concern that getting proper detailed assessments for flood-damaged properties could take months or even years.

Naylor said there were cases in Westport, which was subjected to severe flooding in July 2021 and February 2022, where homeowners hadn't had properties "properly" assessed 18 months later.

"The lesson from Christchurch is yes, you can lodge a claim fast, and the insurance company will respond fast. But to actually get a sense on the ground, and to get a proper building estimate, could take two-to-three years."

The Insurance Council of New Zealand also said it could be years before all claims are settled for flood damaged homes, cars and contents in Auckland.

It said on February 3 the Auckland flooding was the largest climate-related event to impact New Zealand. About 20,000 claims across house, contents, motor and commercial insurance had been received.

The Council said assessors were visiting properties as quickly as they could and those most affected were being prioritised. 

“Customers are asked for their understanding if there is a delay getting to them given the sheer number of claims."

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I lived in Japan after the Tohoku earthquake so I have seen what a dedicated and concerted rebuild effort by multiple non-monopolistic players can look like. It did not look like what happened in ChCh, nor what Auckland is about to experience. 


I would be a insurance companies dream customer in this or any large scale disaster. I just don't have the capacity to spend my time bashing my head on their brick wall to get what I actually paid for. I have the utmost respect for those in ChCh and elsewhere who sat for years doing that.

They appear to be saying it's simply not their fault they don't have the resources to cope with exactly what

the customer has bought and paid for.


Take your money when it's easy, won't pay it out when it becomes hard. Too many middle managers and IT in the insurance companies now, just collect and invest..they have forgotten what they are there for.


So dust off the documentation from 2011 and change the wording from "Southern Response" to Northern Response.


I'm not sure that any insurance company has 100 assessors waiting around picking their nose while waiting for a widespread disaster to occur.

The objection I have to what happens in disputed claims is my engineer against your engineer costing the insured considerable amount of money. This probably applies to EQC as well. I'm sure this aspect can be legislated to prevent or at least have the insurance company pay for a second report.

Its also a known fact that claims are blown up to cover damage not caused by the claimable event. Not widespread but is a problem for insurance companies.

A clause that should not be allowed in any insurance T&Cs for house damage is the option for the insurance company to pay out or repair at the insurances companies discretion. The discretion should be with the insured.


Contractually an insurance policy is simply a cheque book that opens up when a valid claim is experienced. Assessors are there to make sure all the relevant info is gathered and the appropriate scope of work is dealt with. 

Also don't forget the 5% of folks who expect their entire kitchen remodeled when they spill milk on the floor. 


I thought Suncorp sold off the Asteron to TAL???


good luck Auckland - we are in Brisbane and were flooded in feb 22. Took 6 months just to get the scope of works and lost contents claim only settled few weeks ago.
So far they only completed 20-25% of the repair citywide!