Act early, insurers say

Businesses and individuals affected by Sunday night's floods should contact their insurers early so they can begin to pick up the pieces, the insurance council says.

The Insurance Council of New Zealand has advised insured property owners and householders who have suffered damage from the flooding to notify their insurer as soon as possible, photograph and list damaged food items before disposing of them, and retain all property and other personal items for inspection by insurers' assessors.

Materials may get so badly damaged or contaminated that they need to be thrown out. Sometimes local councils may require material to be disposed of for health reasons.

Chief executive Tim Grafton said it would be several days until the full scale of the damage was known.

The situation was complicated for insurers, as more claims would also be coming in from the people affected by the weather in the Bay of Plenty.

Assessors would now begin the process of checking each claim in turn, he said.

"It's something we can't do overnight."

People could claim for damaged carpet, damaged property, and perished food.

Businesses could claim for lost earnings due to closure, but only if they had "business interruption insurance", which depended on their particular policy and was not universally taken up, he said.

This was probably the biggest insurance event since the last flood in December 2011, Mr Grafton said.

The Nelson Mail