Insurers undecided whether or not to provide auto insurance reductions on this lockdown – Stuff.co.nz
John Kirk-Anderson / Stuff
Moorhouse Avenue in Christchurch, which is usually busy with morning traffic, was quiet on Wednesday morning on the first day of the Level 4 statewide lockdown. During the last nationwide lockdown, the huge decline in car movements led insurers to give customers discounts on their auto insurance premiums.
Traffic on the country's roads has dwindled to a trickle thanks to the national lockdown, but insurers are undecided whether to give motorists premium discounts.
During the six-week national lockdown last year, AA Insurance and Tower gave policyholders close to $ 27 million in rebates as claims in car accidents fell dramatically as vehicles stood idle in driveways.
IAG, which owns the State, NZI and AMI brands, opted not to give their customers discounts on auto insurance during last year’s lockdown.
However, all three insurers say it is too early in the current lockdown to say whether they will choose to rerun the 2020 discounts.
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AA Insurance spokeswoman Amanda Fifield said, "Last year's lockdown was based on a six-week nationwide lockdown, so it's too early to say what impact this lockdown will have.
“Our management team is constantly monitoring the situation, including what we've learned about changes in driving behavior and repair costs after the lockdown.
"We strive to inform customers directly of all updates."
ROSS GIBLIN / STUFF
On the first weekend of the New Zealand lockdown in 2021, hundreds of Wellingtonians made their way to Oriental Bay.
After the last lockdown, AA Insurance returned $ 19.5 million in rebates to auto insurance customers.
Tower spokeswoman Emily Davies said, “It is too early to say what impact this change in alert level will have on our customers and whether a discount might be appropriate.
"At the moment our focus is on our employees, supporting our customers and maintaining all elements of our operations."
She said, "We are continuously monitoring the situation and once we are through that time we can determine if action is required."
After its lockdown in 2020, Tower gave its customers auto insurance rebates of $ 7.2 million.
Davies said Tower employees were all now working from their homes in Auckland and Rotorua.
It also has employees in Suva, Fiji, a country where an average of 10 people die from Covid every day. They also worked from home.
Kevin Hughes, Executive General Manager, Consumer Insurance at IAG, said, “Our immediate focus is on supporting our employees and responding to the needs of our customers, including those affected by recent weather events, during the first few days of lockdown.
brendon faster / stuff
Trips to supermarkets and Covid test stations are among the few legitimate car uses for many households during the lockdown.
“Given the uncertainty surrounding this outbreak, we are assessing the situation and considering how we can best support our customers during this time. How long the lockdown lasts will matter, ”said Hughes.
"We will continue to do what is right for our customers by putting their specific needs at the center of our response," he said.
Earlier this month, IAG reported a drop in earnings in New Zealand as claims returned to pre-Covid levels.
But while it was making a New Zealand profit, its Australian parent company reported a total loss of A $ 427 million (NZD 448 million) to investors on the ASX stock market.
She told investors that this was due to the payment of insurance claims related to Covid-related business interruption and the need to put money aside in Australia to issue refunds to unwarranted customers and to fix historical payroll errors.
Earlier this month, Suncorp New Zealand, which owns Vero, which in turn owns a majority stake in AA Insurance, announced a 17 percent drop in profits.
This followed a $ 45 million increase in extreme weather damage, although the bottom line had also suffered a $ 15 million decline due to money being set aside to compensate customers.