Kia ora koutou katoa, We’re not even a quarter of the way into the year and already a lot has happened. We’ve been through what the Insurance Council of New Zealand (Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa) called “Aotearoa/New Zealand’s largest climate event,” referring to the North Island storms coupled with Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle. These events made their presence felt across numerous parts of the country causing damage and disruption to thousands of New Zealanders.
The tragic loss of life and damage to homes, businesses, possessions, and vehicles from the combined effect of these events has been almost unfathomable and so traumatising for many.
Being there in challenging times is what FMG was created for close to 118 years ago and it continues to motivate our people as the Mutual assists our clients and Members in their moments of greatest need. I am extremely proud of the way our entire One Team across the Mutual has done so with FMG’s values (Do what's right. Make it happen. Proud of who we are. We're in it together.) at the core of our response.
At FMG we understand that these are difficult and stressful times for many of our clients. They are critical moments and are what FMG is here for. It’s all hands to the pump as our teams from across all parts of the Mutual do all they can to support one another so we can provide the best possible outcomes for all those impacted, and at the same time maintain our service to all other clients.
Board Chair Tony Cleland and I recently visited Hawke's Bay and our Hastings Office to spend time with our team who have been doing the hard work/mahi over recent weeks. Words fail to do justice to the devastation we saw, but it was a real privilege to meet and spend time with some of those impacted by the cyclone who shared their stories of remarkable endurance with me. There will be similar stories all up the East Coast of the North Island from Wairarapa to Gisborne and up to Northland.
No doubt it will be a long recovery. I know there’s been some concerns about how FMG and the wider insurance industry will cope with such a sequence of events, but rest assured the Mutual has a very good reinsurance programme in place and the funds to support our clients when they need us. We will still be here for the next 100 years supporting rural New Zealand.
I have spoken with Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor who is interested in FMG’s perspective on recent events. FMG has also written to Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Duncan Webb seeking a meeting to provide both a Mutual and rural perspective on the impacts and implications for rural communities.
As Aotearoa’s largest 100% New Zealand owned Mutual and rural insurer, it’s important we give a voice to our Members, clients and people. We remain committed to our Vision of “helping to build strong and prosperous rural communities”.
Working with our strategic partners and rural support networks, we are doing all we can to help rural New Zealand move forward despite the setbacks caused by these latest bouts of severe weather. We remain committed to why our Members established the Mutual almost 118 years ago — to provide a better deal for rural New Zealand.
Kind regards / Ngā mihi,
Adam Heath Chief Executive, FMG