ICMIF member FMG (Farmers Mutual Group), has been busy settling claims and making emergency payments following the recent extreme weather conditions experienced in New Zealand. FMG’s CEO Adam Heath (pictured) has been reassuring members and clients that the mutual insurer can handle the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle and the wider North Island storms.
Speaking last month about recent events, Adam Heath said: “We’re not even a quarter of the way into the year and already a lot has happened. We’ve been through what the Insurance Council of New Zealand (Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa) called ‘Aotearoa/New Zealand’s largest climate event,’ referring to the North Island storms coupled with Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle. These events made their presence felt across numerous parts of the country causing damage and disruption to thousands of New Zealanders.”
New Zealand has witnessed tragic loss of life and damage to homes, businesses, possessions, and vehicles from the combined effect of these events which have been traumatising for many people.
Being there in challenging times is what FMG was created for 118 years ago and Heath is convinced that it is this purpose which continues to motivate the team at FMG as it assists clients and members in their moments of greatest need. Heath said he is extremely proud of the way the entire One Team across the mutual has done so with FMG’s values (Do what’s right. Make it happen. Proud of who we are. We’re in it together.) at the core of its response.
Heath said: “At FMG we understand that these are difficult and stressful times for many of our clients. They are critical moments and are what FMG is here for. It’s all hands to the pump as our teams from across all parts of the Mutual do all they can to support one another so we can provide the best possible outcomes for all those impacted, and at the same time maintain our service to all other clients.”
Board Chair Tony Cleland and Heath recently visited Hawke’s Bay and FMG’s Hastings Office to spend time with the team who have been doing the hard work over recent weeks. Speaking about the visit, Heath said: “Words fail to do justice to the devastation we saw, but it was a real privilege to meet and spend time with some of those impacted by the cyclone who shared their stories of remarkable endurance with us. There will be similar stories all up the East Coast of the North Island from Wairarapa to Gisborne and up to Northland.”
FMG recognises that this it is likely to be a long recovery but Heath was keen to point out that FMG has a very good reinsurance programme in place and the funds to support its clients when they need it. We will still be here for the next 100 years supporting rural New Zealand. Heath reassured FMG’s members saying: “We will still be here for the next 100 years supporting rural New Zealand.”
Heath also spoke with Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor who was interested in FMG’s perspective on recent events. FMG also wrote to Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Duncan Webb seeking a meeting to provide both a mutual and rural perspective on the impacts and implications for rural communities.
As Aotearoa’s largest 100% New Zealand-owned mutual and rural insurer, Heath believes it’s important that FMG gives a voice to its members, clients and people. FMG remains committed to its vision of “helping to build strong and prosperous rural communities”.
Heath said: “Working with our strategic partners and rural support networks, we are doing all we can to help rural New Zealand move forward despite the setbacks caused by these latest bouts of severe weather. We remain committed to why our members established the Mutual almost 118 years ago — to provide a “better deal for rural New Zealand.”