Following December 2020’s heart-breaking hailstorm, FMG looks back at our mutual model in action and the repercussions from that event that are still being felt.

The 2020 Boxing Day hailstorm in Motueka was described by orchardist Andrew Drummond as the ‘biggest and most widespread that the area had ever encountered’, ‘heart-breaking and financially devastating.’

Over a period of around 20 to 30 minutes, large hailstones pelted crops and damaged homes and vehicles, leaving a blanket of hail that was 6-7 inches deep on the ground.

FMG's timeline of response:

December 26 – within 24 hours, FMG had contacted impacted clients to check on their safety.

December 27 – FMG was on the ground to begin assessing damage.

December 28 – FMG secures local roofing suppliers to begin repairing properties.

April 2021 – $15.7m in claims paid. FMG attends community meetings to support locals on their claims journey and brings in experts to support with the short- and long-term recovery.

FMG progressed claims quickly, so they matched up with the seasonal grower cheque—helping to avoid cash-flow issues. This is the type of detail and understanding FMG gains from being a relationship-driven, mutual insurer who lives in the communities it supports.

“We’ve had plenty of support over the years involving hail as well as floods and general farm cover. After the hailstorm we got a call from our adviser, who we almost have a personal relationship with. He totally understood, said leave everything with him and that he’ll see us shortly. We know we’re in good hands” says orchardist Andrew Drummond

The Motueka event has had repercussions on hail cover including the withdrawal of a specialist crop insurer.

“Due to this event and other global factors our reinsurance partners reassessed and reduced the support they were willing to offer for Orchard Fruit and Kiwifruit policy cover in 2021,” says Chris Bailey, Head of Reinsurance at FMG.

The nature of crop insurance means FMG can’t provide this cover without the support of specialist reinsurers, but FMG has taken on a significantly higher share of the risk to ensure this product is available to those who were able to secure it for this growing season.

FMG’s kiwifruit hail top-up cover reached full capacity in September for the Bay of Plenty region for the 2021-22 season.

“Despite the limits on capacity we continue to support kiwifruit growers and we’re the only insurer to offer this type of insurance this season,” says Chris.

Clients unable to secure kiwifruit hail top-up insurance with FMG for this season and who would like to register interest for next season should let us know. We will contact them prior to next season to discuss their requirements with them.

At FMG we back the farmers and growers of New Zealand and have been doing it for over 115 years. It’s all part of our long-term sustainable vision for resilient rural communities.