We empathise with our client’s difficult situation and are continuing to support them by helping bring together all the relevant parties needed to find a resolution.
When assessing any claim, we need to be fair to all policy holders that we’re working within the parameters of our policy wordings—and that’s what we’re doing in this case.
Our client has a ‘Home Policy’ which covers damage or loss to their home. Relevant to their case, it also includes cover for the damaged surface of their driveway.
The policy does not cover land. No private insurer in New Zealand covers land—there is nothing unique about this.
Insurance policies define what is covered, and to provide as much clarity as possible, items are specifically referred to in the wordings—rather than what isn’t covered.
When we look at our client’s situation, because the surface of our client’s accessway is insured—their policy kicks in. Within three months of lodging their claim we paid approximately $60,000 which is the estimated cost to repair the damaged surface.
Land under their driveway, and on their neighbour’s property, is not insured under FMG’s ‘House Policy’. Given this, there is no cover to reinstate the land, even if it needs repairing to rebuild the drive.
A similar scenario would be a house fire, where ‘contents’ insurance would only cover the contents and not the reinstatement of the house to put the contents in.
The only cover provided for land damage in New Zealand is through the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and this is limited to the extent of cover set out in the EQC Act. Unfortunately, there is no cover under the EQC Act in this case, as the damage to the neighbour’s land is too far from the main property (more than 60 metres).
We acknowledge the toll this issue is having on our client, and whilst insurance can’t cover all damage relating to the accessway, FMG feels the right thing to do is to continue our involvement.
FMG’s involvement is focused on trying to bring the three main parties together (and others if need be) to help find a collective resolution that will need to extend beyond insurance.
This work is progressing—FMG remains at the table.
FMG is a specialist rural insurer, and we have over half of New Zealand’s farmers and growers insured with us. Whilst FMG has specialist rural policies, and we do all we can to meet the insurance needs of the country’s largest industry, we can’t cover every eventuality and must operate within the scope of FMG’s policy wording(s).