24 Aug 2012

No problem getting reinsurance for NZ arm, says IAG

10:00 am on 24 August 2012

The Australian-owned insurer IAG New Zealand says it has had no problem getting reinsurance for its New Zealand arm, despite the industry being hard-hit by last year's earthquakes.

The country's largest general insurer, which bought AMI last year and includes State Insurance and NZI in its stable, made $A103 million in the year to the end of June.

It says fewer damaging quakes helped claims return to a more normal pattern, while tight control was kept on costs.

Reinsurance cover was up more than a quarter to $149 million, largely due to the Canterbury earthquakes.

Chief financial officer Nicholas Hawkins says the company has now got two covers in place for New Zealand. The main catastrophe cover, which excludes the AMI business, is $4.7 billion; for AMI, which has been kept separate, there is cover of $1.3 billion, with a maximum retention of $25 million.

Mr Hawkins says collectively the company is comfortable with the level of reinsurance coverage available to New Zealand.

"Sure, we've had to pay more for it," he says, "but we saw plenty of capital available for that New Zealand market and in particular for New Zealand earthquake risk."