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Rebuilding Canterbury

Getting Winnie Bagoes back in business

Winnie Bagoes, the iconic watering hole in the CBD for over 20 years, had to close its doors after the 4 September earthquake three years ago.

30 October, 2013

“Our insurer Vero were quick to step in and help out after that first earthquake,” says Geoff Cavell, owner of Winnie Bagoes.

The restaurant and pizzeria moved from Gloucester to Colombo Street within six weeks of the first loss but then the February earthquake shut them down again.

“With all the emotional stress of the September earthquake and then the aftershocks, we eventually thought we were okay. We worked with Vero to find an alternate location – at that stage it was more about finding the right place to move to. Our turnover actually doubled when we moved to Colombo Street and Vero helped us to adjust our gross profits which proved helpful, especially with the February earthquake so soon afterwards.

“The February earthquake really wiped us out – it definitely changed the game for us. We were only able to get back into the premises in June to salvage some of the contents and equipment. It also turned our insurance claim into one of the unique ones,” says Geoff.

Fortunately, Winnie Bagoes had a comprehensive insurance policy in place, and having a detailed business plan was a useful base when the discussions on business trends and gross profit started.

“The good news was that we kept good accounting practices and we could refer to our records going quite far back. In the end, I feel Vero stood by the policy and paid us what was fair.

“It was a frustrating time but I cannot question Vero’s integrity. At the end of the day it was a negotiation between two businesses and we were grappling with issues of business interruption insurance that were hard to get a handle on,” says Geoff.

I feel Vero stood by the policy and paid us what was fair

Business interruption insurance has kept many businesses afloat after the earthquakes. It has been widely discussed and for those businesses that were covered under business interruption, it has meant being able to survive the earthquakes.

“While the discussions were carrying on, we received progress payments which kept us going and we had to go through the process. Most importantly for us, Vero stood behind their Business Interruption policy which allowed us to survive,” says Geoff.

Geoff also says that having the same team of people working on his claim from start to finish made the process much easier.

“Paul, our loss adjuster, was brilliant. He guided us all the way through the process and made things less complicated. We always felt he was being fair and that he knew what he was talking about,” says Geoff.

The popular eating place recently re-opened in new premises on the corner of Madras and Allen streets.

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