Insurance companies help Chch advisers

Insurance companies are providing assistance for advisers affected by the Christchurch earthquake with a range of help from temporary work locations and counselling to financial assistance.

Wednesday, March 9th 2011, 5:47PM

by Jenha White

AMP has made a $1 million donation to the Christchurch Earthquake appeal and it has set up an ‘AMP Hub,' which is a motel room with an attached conference room set up out of the earthquake zone.

It has showers, meeting rooms, IT equipment and overnight accommodation which are being widely used by all, including advisers to restart their businesses.

In the week of the earthquake it also sent care packages for all staff, advisers and their families with everything from buckets to food, water and cooking equipment. They were available at the AMP hub and those that needed the packages used them.

AMP has also made counselling support available and it is working with individual businesses to work out their financial assistance needs as well as providing IT equipment and support.

Fidelity Life chief executive Milton Jennings has just returned from Christchurch and was surprised by the amount of devastation in the city centre.

"We went to see our office, but couldn't get closer than 100 metres from it."

He says the building itself is cracked, with plaster falling off, and it has clearly moved a lot.

"It's still standing, but we don't know if it is safe yet - at this stage it looks like we may be relocating our office, to share space with an adviser."

Jennings says Fidelity Life has contributed $15,000 to a fund launched by the Institute of Financial Advisers (IFA) to help get Christchurch residents' financial affairs sorted following the devastating earthquake.

The contributions to the IFA fund will allow Christchurch advisers, many of whom are also victims of the earthquake, to provide free financial planning advice to affected residents.

Fidelity Life staff have also raised about $3,000 for earthquake relief. 

AIA is keeping a track of advisers who need to relocate and it has staff on the ground in Christchurch who are able to help advisers rebuild their businesses and follow up on claims and enquiries from policyholders.

The AIA Financial Advisers Network also has Chinese and Japanese speaking advisers who have offered their services wherever needed.

AIA has formed a Christchurch claims committee and paid out its first earthquake death claim today.

TOWER says if advisers are experiencing hardship it has to be demonstrated as help will be given on a case by case basis - not blanket support.

"For example, some advisers are shifting to other areas temporarily and continuing business, so to say they are experiencing financial hardship may not stack up," says TOWER group managing director Rob Flannagan.

He says very few advisers have approached TOWER for help.

Sovereign general manager of marketing and product David Drillien says the company's building was in the cordon zone so it has secured a new premises and will be re-opening the office soon and getting the team up and running.

He says Sovereign has offered a counselling service to Christchurch advisers and it is in touch with advisers about how they have been impacted and whether they need help.

AXA general manager marketing & financial protection Mark Ennis says if advisers have a problem with their premises, they can go to the AXA office which is just outside the central city, slightly damaged but okay.

Advisers have access to a hot desk and internet access there to help them get back into the working environment. He says advisers that need further help should talk to their business development manager's.

The MDRT Foundations in the United States and Japan are contributing USD $10,000 each, for a total of USD $20,000, to the New Zealand Red Cross for disaster relief.

"We hope this will ease some of the suffering and help restore the strength it will take to rebuild Christchurch and move forward," it says.

Jenha is a TPL staff reporter.

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