Earthquake Response for Business Owners 18 Nov 2016


Business owners in Christchurch largely failed to take advantage of their business interruption cover. Here are some tips from our experience with those who did well.

 Things to do:


  1. Take photos of everything, before the clean-up if possible.
  2. Get a copy of your business interruption policy schedule and the full wording document (if you don’t have them your insurance broker may do. If in doubt call the insurance company who will provide the full policy wording.)
  3. Understand the cover that your particular BI policy provides. Your broker or your lawyer will help if they have had previous BI insurance experience (if not then get an advisor with experience). Most BI policies will pay for all claims preparation costs including legal and accounting advice. Good advice will make a very sizeable difference to your
  4. Business interruption cover usually only lasts 6-12 months starting from the date of the damage.  Plan to make ALL the business adjustments you can within that period. That way the insurer will pay.
  5. Possible policy responses may include re-establishing the business elsewhere, or changing the focus of the business.
  6. Many BI policies cover staff wages and increased costs of business.
  7. You can often obtain an interim payment from the insurer if you can clearly show a loss covered by the policy. A decent payment at this time allows more options and better decision making.



  1. Decide to muddle through and think about it later. If you do that, your cover will expire and you may get nothing.
  2. Make large changes to your business at your own cost without understanding what your BI cover provides for. BI cover is frequently more than expected.
  3. Make decisions based on advice from someone who has not read your full policy wording.


Every situation is unique so please discuss your situation with a professional advisor who can provide tailored solutions to you. Please contact Paul Cowey at Parry Field Lawyers, (03 348 8480)