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26 January 2024

Claims      Client Advisory     

Dealing with the aftermath of the Auckland Anniversary floods and Cyclone Gabrielle

The Auckland Anniversary flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle together caused significant damage across the northern and eastern regions of the North Island in early 2023. New Zealand insurers faced a substantial increase in insurance claims after both events, putting their claims resolution services under significant pressure.

Our highly experienced Gallagher claims teams played a crucial role in helping businesses and homeowners recover from these destructive events, implementing a range of measures to streamline and expedite claims payments and support clients. As one of the country’s largest insurance brokers, we were also able to exert considerable influence on how insurers, loss adjusters and assessors managed the high volume of claims.

Claims volume and settlement rates

These two events combined were the largest insurance event since the Canterbury Earthquakes.

We received over 6,200 claims from both extreme weather events, with a combined total value of over $480 million.

As a result the total number of property claims we managed in the first quarter of 2023 increased by 68%.

Proactive claims management

As soon as these events began, we activated our claims emergency response plan to deliver rapid and effective assistance to our affected clients.

Senior executive and claims personnel met weekly with all major insurers to provide support and develop strategies to speed up claims settlements, actively monitor claims progress, and escalate where necessary.

Our strong insurer relationships, data reporting tools and robust service level agreements were key in ensuring insurers maintained service standards for our clients.

In particular:

• We actively sought to issue or follow up claims progress payments to assist clients with their most immediate needs. In many cases, these payments were up to the sum insured.
• Extended and implemented delegated authorities so we could settle claims without the need for loss adjuster involvement or insurer approval.
• In addition, we conducted in-person claims negotiation with insurers for many large or complex claims.
• For our SMARTpak clients, we simplified reporting processes with assessors to improve response times and removed the need for repair estimates on vehicles where floodwaters had reached a certain height in the vehicle.

On-the-ground support

Our wide network of Gallagher offices enabled us to provide immediate support to clients across the country following both flooding events.
• Our Auckland, Palmerston North and other regional teams extended essential help to Auckland and Hawkes Bay clients following the widespread disruption caused by the Auckland flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle.
• After the Hawkes Bay event, claims team members were based in the region for six months, with senior claims staff always on–hand to help clients.

Online claims forms capability and communication

• Our online claims lodgement capability meant clients could lodge a claim quickly and easily and avoided lodgement bottlenecks that often develop when a large number of clients place a claim within a similar time period.
• Proactive contact by our brokers using post code data helped determine which of our clients were likely impacted by an event but had not started a claim.
• Regular updates on our website helped to keep clients up to date with claims-related information.

Client feedback

Despite the challenges posed by the high volume of claims received in 2023, client satisfaction with our service and support has remained relatively high. For the third quarter of 2023, SMARTpak recorded +54 as measured by Net Promotor Score, a global satisfaction metric. This result is considered ‘excellent’, according to the metric. For the same period, property claims managed by our Centralised Claims Team and Insurance partners scored +53.

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