Tower ramps up support for customers affected by floods
Tower has received around 150 claims in relation to current flooding across New Zealand.
At present, claims are mainly for customers’ homes and contents, largely to do with leaks causing water damage, flooded carpets and basements, and flood-damaged belongings. Roughly a third of claims are for the Nelson Marlborough region.
Tower Chief Claims Officer Steve Wilson says many homes are ankle-knee deep in mud or water and some customers’ homes have been pushed off their foundations and downhill during slips.
"We expect more claims to come through as rain and flooding subsides, and it is safe for customers and assessors to evaluate the damage to homes and contents. Following historical trends some claims may not come through until Labour Weekend as customers with holiday homes in the Marlborough Sounds area are currently not in-region.
“Looking forward we're focused on removing damaged materials and contents out of affected houses as quickly as possible, so we can dry homes out before we begin repairing homes.
“Our thoughts are with all who have been affected by flooding in Nelson, Northland and the West Coast. We’ve been monitoring the situation closely and have been in contact with our customers in these regions to check on their welfare.”
When flooding began last week, Tower sent over 4,000 text messages to customers to check-in and to provide insurance advice. By Saturday the insurer had Claims Assessors on the ground in all affected areas to begin assessing damage, including by boat where roads are unusable. A Tower team is also supporting customers with claims and insurance advice at the Nelson Community Hub.
Advice for customers during a flood
“The most important thing those affected by flooding can do is to ensure their own safety and that of their families first,” says Mr Wilson.
“Follow the advice of your local Civil Defense and do not attempt to drive or walk-through floodwaters unless it is absolutely essential.
“If your property is damaged and only if it is safe to do so, please take notes and photographs to assist with the claims process. If you rent your property, we recommend you contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.”
In the first instance Tower is encouraging customers to claim online. For urgent enquiries please call the Tower team on 0800 379 372. Tower is standing up additional Customer Care Consultants to assist with claims management and to make the process as smooth as possible for customers.
“By encouraging customers to claim online we aim to keep our phone lines as free as possible for those most impacted and requiring urgent assistance to make their properties safe,” says Mr Wilson.
“Please remember, we are here to help. Our job as an insurer is to be there for people when they need it most. Tower will continue to support our customers throughout what we know is a challenging time for people and their families.”
For other areas of New Zealand that have been issued weather warnings and are experiencing heavy rain, Tower’s House insurance blog is a good resource on how to protect and prepare your home for different weather events:
• What to do before and after a flood
• Water & flood damage: What does your insurance cover?
• What to pack for an emergency grab bag