Media release

Cyclone Gabrielle sparks warning to prepare, as Vero ramps up teams to support flood impacted customers

13 February 2023

As cyclone Gabrielle bears down on the northern area of New Zealand, Vero Insurance is again calling on the support of its experienced Australian flood claims teams adding an additional 70 Suncorp Group employees to those already bolstering the New Zealand team working to lodge and progress claims from the January 27th weather event.

The insurer says following the Auckland Anniversary weather, it is responding to more than 5000 claims from Vero customers, and is urging people to take proactive steps this weekend to prepare for the incoming rain and wind.

Vero’s parent company Suncorp New Zealand has, since late January, almost doubled the number of people it has supporting customer claims.

Vero’s Chief Customer Officer Campbell Mitchell says it’s possible customers already impacted by flooding could be in for further damage and urges customers to prepare for the weather warning and take steps to mitigate potential losses.

“The recent flooding event has caused wide-spread devastation in our communities and thankfully we continue to be able to lean on our Australian based Suncorp team for additional support. These claims consultants are highly experienced in working through flood claims having supported customers through several events, including the Brisbane floods last year,” he says.

“While our teams are experienced and we’re well placed to respond to these events, preparation is the best early course of action people can take – whether the cyclone makes land or not.”

Mitchell suggests safely clearing drains and guttering, securing outdoor furniture and bringing in bins, and for people living in low lying areas, they should park vehicles on higher ground and lift valuables off the floor.

“Our team continues to identify and contact our more vulnerable customers and are now asking them to prepare ahead of Cyclone Gabrielle’s arrival. We’re also asking people to check in on neighbours to see if they’re prepared and managing.”

Mitchell says due to the high number of properties, homes and vehicles damaged in the recent flooding event, there may be delays in helping our customers return to normality but the most severely impacted and vulnerable will be prioritised.

“It’s clear that with the volume of claims coming in, we cannot respond as fast as we would like to; and the lingering supply issues caused by the pandemic also mean supplies can be less available. Our team is doing its very best to support our customers as much as we can through this, but everyone can help by taking steps to prepare for Cyclone Gabrielle.”

Preparing for a tropical cyclone

Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle is currently tracking towards New Zealand, so now is the BEST time to prepare.  

Be prepared for heavy winds and rain.  

  • Clear drains and guttering 
  • Bring in bins 
  • Secure any outdoor furniture that could become a projectile in high winds 
  • Turn trampolines upside down and anchor if possible
  • Check in with elderly or vulnerable neighbours too. 

If the weather starts to get bad  

  • Bring any pets indoors 
  • Avoid going outside if possible 
  • Stay off the roads 
  • Be ready to activate your household emergency plan.  
  • Be prepared to unplug electrical appliances in case of power surge and close curtains, windows, shutters and doors, and stay away from windows and skylights in case they shatter in high winds.  
  • Keep your emergency kit handy. This should include a first aid kit, masks, medicine, water, food, torches, and batteries - enough supplies for a few days for everyone. 

If you’re recovering from the recent flood event

Unfortunately, you’re more likely to be affected by the forecast rainfall. If you have repairs already underway, consider halting work until after Gabrielle has been through, especially if it will help you avoid re-work. 

More useful information:

You can find information on the Get ready website for how to prepare for storms

Visit the Civil Defence website for what to do during a storm

You can find more helpful tips and information on our wild weather page

Media enquiries

For all media enquiries please contact:

Kimberley Cameron

Call Call027 208 1268 or EmailEmail Kimberley

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The information in this article has been compiled from various sources and is intended to be factual information only. Full details of policy terms and conditions are available from Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited or your financial adviser. For advice on product suitability, please contact your financial adviser. While we take reasonable steps to ensure that the information contained in this article is accurate and up-to-date, it is subject to change without notice. Vero Insurance New Zealand and its related companies does/do not accept any responsibility or liability in connection with your use of or reliance on this article.