Managing risk together means building resilience in our rural communities by being there when the unexpected happens. We chat with Jonathan Parsons FMG’s Head of Mobile Assessing, Event Response & Claims Procurement.
What stands out when you look back at claims over 2022 so far?
Of most significance was the back-to-back nature of the six weather events in the early stages of the year, and how widespread the damage from these extended. It really was a relentless start to the year for our Members and clients, with some being impacted by multiple events. In total, we’ve lodged approximately 3,250 total claims from these events at a cost of more than $8.4m.
What unique challenges has this presented?
Having an in-house assessing team, along with regionally located Sales and Service teams spread across the country means we can have boots on the ground in the highest impacted areas once it's safe to do so and receive real-time intel as to the extent of damage. With a number of this year’s events being so widespread (concentrations of claims right across the country) mobilising our team to come in behind our local assessor has been more difficult though, and a number of our team have done significant amounts of travel and time away from home.
Additionally, this year has seen a real theme of water related events and associated damage from flooding. These types of events can be more complex given flood waters need to recede before the full extent is understood. They can also bring access issues (as seen through the Marlborough region) and can have longer repair/reinstatement timeframes (particularly when coupled with the well reported supply chain shortages).
Yes, the wettest winter in recorded history, has there been any other factors at play?
We’ve also had a disproportionate number of large total losses this year – mainly linked to house fires. We've had a look deeper into these to see if there’s any causal factors at play here and so far, it hasn’t found anything so it’s a bit of an anomaly. These pop up from time to time.
Those supply chain constraints you mention, and rising costs, must be having an impact on the cost of claims?
Yes, it’s having a significant impact. The cost of building, particularly relating to materials, has gone up considerably as well as transport and shipping costs. As always it’s important that clients check their sum insureds to ensure their level of cover is adequate.
How well placed is FMG to handle a response to these types of events and others?
It is having an impact industry wide, and the Insurance Council of New Zealand has noted this year we’re heading for a third year of a record number for weather related claims events so it’s something the whole industry is grappling with.
However, this is the nature of the insurance business. Much like farming and growing we have our ups and downs and just like them we are here for the long term. There will always be periods of volatility, but FMG is well capitalised to meet these challenges, and has strong support from a global network of reinsurers.