‘Quake damage at New Zealand’s vineyards; an insurance perspective

Reports in New Zealand that the country’s wine industry has experienced damage from the November 2016 earthquake, serve as a reminder of the variety of claims Crawford & Company® will manage.

A short time on from the event which rocked New Zealand’s central region around midnight on 14 November, Crawford®’s wide ranging adjusting skills are being called upon frequently.

Recent reports confirmed how one of the country’s largest producers is counting the cost following huge ground shifts which have caused extensive damage to wineries and tank farms in particular in the Marlborough region, the heartland of the wine making industry.

The sector’s infrastructure has also been badly hit, with barrel halls and storage facilities damaged; potentially rendering unique vintage products lost to history if spoiled.

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It’s not just about the vintage: Wine-making has become a highly mechanised process, changing its risk profile 

“Crawford’s expertise in this particular industry stems from a considerable history in North America, supporting claims made by producers from California to Ontario,” says Andrew Bart, Chief Executive Officer, Asia Pacific. “The wine producers of New Zealand are emerging as one of the most productive in the global market and this earthquake is not the first to have affected the industry. We spent a lot of time supporting claims after the 2011 and it shows, because the sector here is very well prepared and resilient.”

Dean Garrod, Chief Executive Officer, New Zealand says that while protecting a vintage is important, wine making has become such a sophisticated manufacturing process that high value claims are equally likely to emerge from with damage caused to the increasingly expensive equipment on show at today’s modern winery.

Dean said “As wine production becomes ever more precise and dependent upon sophisticated techniques (with less room for error) and often expensive, sometimes elaborate equipment, the potential for claims to occur can only increase.  Wine making has evolved substantially over the years to the present day, where there is a significant amount of science involved throughout every stage of the process. Each winery and winemaker has their own preferences or techniques in the production of a wine as they strive to create their preferred style.”

Crawford’s experience after the 2011 earthquake means producers and their insurers can rely on a robust assessment of damage and a rapid programme of repair. We are working with claimants to mitigate the effect on the next vintage in approximately fourteen weeks’ time.  “We’ve helped a number of producers get back on their feet without delaying production in similar circumstances to these,” says Dean “It remains to be seen what the overall damage caused by November’s earthquake is on the sector in its entirety but, this is an industry the country wants to protect so we know how important it is to ensure production can go on without disruption.”

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