17 Aug 2017

Insurer's $3m loss driven by quake claims

2:50 pm on 17 August 2017

Rural insurance company FMG has lost $3.3 million this financial year, driven by Kaikōura earthquake claims.

Shepherd Ash Orr mustering in the  Kaikōura Ranges

A farmer mustering in the Kaikōura Ranges. Rural insurer FMG has about 1300 outstanding quake claims. Photo: RNZ / Alexa Cook

Claims reached a record of $152m for the year, up $15m on last year. Last year, the company estimated potential earthquake claims at $40m.

The company has settled 40 percent of 3300 Kaikōura claims.

FMG chief executive Chris Black said losses were expected in insurance.

"Insurance is a very volatile industry so we set up the business to handle a small loss like this from time to time.

"The business is well capitalised, we've got good re-insurance support.

"The reason for the loss relates to the extra cost we've had with Kaikōura, so that's about $19m."

Storms this year also damaged properties, he said.

"It's been a tough wet winter and if you look at the last five months we've had five major storms ... we're just working through that, the key thing for clients is that we're here when it counts.

"If you look at the last two years, and this is putting earthquakes to one side, the cost of underlying claims has gone up 50 percent."

The past seven years of earthquakes and major storms influenced claims and there would be some modest changes to premiums, he said.

Mr Black said premium increases in earthquake-prone areas would be higher and, overall, the business was financially sound.

"We have $226m in reserves."

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