Kiwi insurer Tower settles first flood claims less than a week since flooding began
Kiwi insurer Tower settled its first motor claims related to the Auckland and North Island flooding on Tuesday, just four days after the first storm. The insurer has already settled 11 motor claims to date.
Tower Chief Claims officer Steve Wilson says Tower is committed to helping Kiwis get back on their feet.
“It’s our job to be there when people need us most and to help alleviate some of the stress involved during weather events so, Kiwis can focus on keeping themselves and their families safe.
“We are doing everything we can to work through claims as quickly as possible. I’m proud of the way our teams have rallied to support our customers over the past few days,” says Mr Wilson.
Following Friday’s events, Tower activated its large events motor assessing process to fast-track claims. Starting Saturday morning, a fleet of tow trucks have been transporting customers’ flood damaged vehicles from around Auckland to one central yard in Wiri. Tower motor assessors are stationed at the yard triaging vehicles.
Tower has received over 500 motor claims to date from this event and around 200 cars are currently being assessed or are on their way to the yard.
During a flood, once water reaches above a certain level, it’s often not viable to repair the vehicle’s electrical system. This means a large part of assessing involves performing checks to verify the extent of flood damage, which enables assessors to make a call very quickly on the state of the vehicle.
If a car needs further assessment, it’s sent to one of Tower’s repair partners to be seen by a mechanic, these partners are priositising Tower customers, for a faster more efficient service.
Mr Wilson has worked in insurance for over 20 years and is a mechanic by trade. He says, having professionals perform these checks is important, as there can be live currents still active in a vehicle’s electrical system which coupled with water damage, requires specialist assessment for work to be carried out safely.
“That’s why our advice to customers is do not drive your car if it’s flood damaged, call your insurer and they will have it towed and assessed. For vehicles that have been driven through flood waters, hydro-locked engines are fixable and that’s something we can assess and help with.
“If flood waters only reached a low level in your vehicle, open all the windows in a secure place to allow the vehicle to dry out. Fans and dehumidifiers will also help.”
Tower has been firmly focussed on supporting customers since Friday, bringing in extra staff from New Zealand and Fiji to support claims coming in online and via telephone. Tower has so far sent over 330,000 texts and 369,000 emails to provide insurance advice and check on customer welfare. Tower teams are also stationed at all six Auckland District Council drop-in centres at Albany, Mangere, Westgate, New Lynn, Three Kings and Birkenhead.
While motor claims are being handled at pace, house and contents claims will take longer as assessors need to visit individual homes.
“We’ve been bringing in more assessors from around the country and Australia to help reach customers faster. These assessors have been on the ground since early Saturday morning,” says Mr Wilson.
Tower has received approximately 1,900 house, motor and contents claims for this event overall, with around 1,000 of these being house claims.
Notes for Editors
Tower has provided helpful guidance for house claims, including steps Kiwis can take for cleanup and make-safe repairs, before they hear from their insurer - click here. For areas of New Zealand affected by heavy rain, Tower’s blog features a range of helpful advice.
Tower won the Canstar Car Insurer of the Year Award for 2022, for the second year in a row.
The Car Insurer of the Year award is based on the strongest combination of value, product and service performance, and customer satisfaction in-market. The customer satisfaction element looks at factors including customer service, comprehensiveness of cover, and value for money.
Tower also won a Canstar 2022 Outstanding Value Car Insurance Awards - again, for the second year running.