Getting help with your Flood Damage Claim

by Sep 21, 2023Advice

In January 2023 Auckland, and surrounding areas were subjected to a significant weather event that impacted people’s lives, homes, and businesses in ways we would not have been able to imagine.

As an expat coming from a country known for its monumentally bad weather, I fondly recall the first rainstorm I was caught in down in Wellington. I can categorically say I had never seen or experienced anything like it anywhere else. I had two attempts at walking to my office (a 10-minute walk) that involved me getting about 100m and turning back to go home and change into dry clothes, twice! On the third attempt, I just decided to carry on and spent the day trying to dry out at the office.

Even this, and subsequent rainstorms I have seen, did not prepare me for what we saw in late January. Something my team and I have been working on with insurers, homeowners, and other consultants since then. We have been flat out, but clearly haven’t even begun to make a meaningful dent in the huge number of claims.

It has made me think a lot about what I have seen and I wanted to share these thoughts here.

Three Considerations

The first significant difference to my professional experiences gained over 25 years as a surveyor elsewhere, is a really positive thing. It’s actually one of the things I like most about living and working here. It centres around people and it is the extremely considerate and selfless approach the majority of Kiwi’s seem to have. Without exception, every person I have met with has always reflected on their personal situation by thinking of those who have to live in conditions worse than theirs.

The second is that there is a real focus within the insurance industry on trying to manage every claim as quickly and satisfactorily as possible. They don’t get it right some of the time but they are hellbent on finding ways to get the backlog of claims through their systems to ensure people’s lives are put back on track as soon as they can.

The third is the reoccurring problem we see in New Zealand. It is that there simply are not enough people to try and get things resolved this is at a stage, 5 months since the event, where claims are still being validated and inspected. The shortage of adequately skilled people will soon pass to the construction and reinstatement businesses which barely have enough labour to cope now.

I am acutely and painfully aware that when I leave work and go home to a dry, warm, and welcoming home numerous people I have met during the course of my day cannot. Truth be told I have left more people living in shells of homes, in barely habitable conditions than I feel comfortable with.

We can help

My team and I are now finding our focus is shifting to advising policyholders rather than insurers on how to get things done to keep moving things along. Most insurance policies have provisions for the policyholder to engage their own consultants to move things along. Often they simply want you to call them first to notify them and obtain their consent – it’s worth a try if the insurer is struggling

Get in Touch

Given my team’s experience with claims handling alongside the geotechnical and stormwater consultants available at our sister company GWE Engineering, I believe we can uniquely and empathetically help you move your claim forward to help you get back to where you were before the storms of early 2023.

We can help. We want to help. You have more options to move your claim forward than perhaps you realise. Get in touch here.