Insurers line up to count cost

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The insurance company weighing the costs of the fatal April fire to Icepak coolstores at Tamahere is Australian-owned Lumley.

Several insurers cover different aspects of the operation at Tamahere, including the contents of the coolstores and the Icepak buildings.

Tamahere Forum reporting here on a news report in The Australian newspaper identified NZI, owned by IAG (Insurance Australia Group), as Icepak’s insurer.

An IAG spokeswoman clarified today that neither IAG nor NZI insure Icepak.

“We insure Fonterra (i.e. the cheese) and several other clients who were storing goods in the premises so the comments about the impact of the Icepak losses on IAG is incorrect.”

In a report on the state of IAG’s business, The Australian story noted that IAG was already having a tough time in New Zealand before the Icepak fire.

“New Zealand is a tough and expensive business to run with few rewards. In the last six months, IAG lost $20 million in New Zealand due to a competitive market and big claims. It is expected to make further losses in the second half of the full year.

“IAG is believed to have an exposure to the Icepack Coolstore fire at Tamahere in New Zealand in April.”

Fonterra, owner of most of the product stored in the coolstores, lost about $25 million of dairy product in the fire, according to media reports.

A Lumley spokesman confirmed to Tamahere Forum that it insured Icepak’s buildings and plant. It was still “sorting through a fair few issues” related to the fire, he said.

Lumley may will also be feeling the impact of the claim after experiencing its own profitability challenges recently.

Lumley’s challenges were set out in a report (pdf) about the arrival in May of the company’s new chief executive, John Lyon.

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