Car refund

In April we let you know we were refunding the benefits of lower costs from fewer car claims during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Trade Me Insurance is underwritten by Tower Insurance, who reviewed the costs of car claims over that time and can confirm we have a total of $7.2 Million to be shared between all Tower underwritten car customers.

Find out more about how and when the refund will be paid to you by checking out our Frequently Asked Questions below.

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About your refund

How much will my refund be?

Your refund is calculated based on a 45% reduction to the value of your car premium for the period 24 March 2020 to 13 May 2020. This is based on the lower car claims costs we saw during the COVID-19 lockdown period. All amounts include GST, but exclude fees, levies and the RoadWise® optional benefit.

If you have several eligible car policies for which you paid insurance premiums between 24 March and 13 May (inclusive), you’ll receive a refund for all policies.

The refund for each of your policies will show separately on your bank statement with the policy number as the payment reference, so you can easily see the refund amount for each policy. You can find the policy number on your latest renewal email or communication from us.

When will I receive my refund?

We've started to pay eligible customers their refunds. It will take a few weeks to fulfill for all our customers. You'll receive a confirmation email when your refund is ready to be paid.

How will my refund get paid to me?

We'll be making the payment by direct credit into your bank account.

If you already pay your premiums by direct debit from your bank account, you don't need to do anything - we'll make the payment directly into your bank account and we'll contact you to let you know.

If you pay via another method, you'll need to provide us with your bank details. Go to our secure online form and have your refund code handy. This will be in your car refund confirmation correspondence from us.

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All domestic and commercial car policies are eligible for the refund.

Refunds will be based on eligible car customers’ premiums paid between 24 March 2020 and 13 May 2020 (including GST, but excluding fees, levies and the RoadWise® optional benefit).

New Zealand entered the first day of alert level three on 24 March, and we entered our first day of level two on 14 May. There was significantly less traffic on our roads during alert levels three and four while everyone did the right thing and stayed home. From level two, traffic started returning to normal volumes again. We saw fewer car claims and lower car claims costs during alert levels three and four, and are therefore committed to returning these to our car customers.

Your policy number will appear on your bank statement as the payment reference, so you can easily see the refund amount for your policy/policies.
If you think that there is a refund missing, don’t worry. We're taking a phased approach to refunding all of our eligible customers, so you may receive correspondence about the refund for your other policy/policies separately. This could happen for a number of reasons, including:
  • if your policies are under different reference numbers
  • if your policy sits under one of Tower's other brands
  • if the policyholder names have slight variation, or are under different entities
  • if your policy renewed during the COVID-19 lockdown period
  • if you pay by different payment methods for your policies, for example by direct debit for one and credit card for another.

If you pay for a family member’s insurance but the policy is in their name, they will receive communication regarding the refund for that policy from us, but the refund amount will be credited to the bank details we have on file for that policy.

For example, if you pay for your daughter’s insurance, she will get an email informing her about the refund. The refund amount will be credited to the bank details on file (which in this case may be your bank details) and the refund will appear in your statement with your daughter’s policy number as the payment reference.

We'll offer refunds to all eligible customers regardless of the method or frequency of their payments. As long as your payments are up to date for the period between 24 March 2020 and 13 May 2020 for each of your eligible car policies, you'll be offered a refund.

Tower will be refunding a total of $7.2 million, which will be shared between all eligible car customers, including all our Partner policies. The amount being refunded is based on the lower car claims costs during the COVID-19 lockdown.

During lockdown we saw a decrease in our claims volumes and costs for our car policies, however we didn’t see a comparable decrease in our house and contents policies. This is because people were at home more, used their household items more, plus indoor soccer tends to be a pretty risky game!

No - due to the number of customers we're refunding, we want to make it as simple as possible to make the refund to you quickly. The fastest way we can do this is by a direct credit to a bank account for all of our eligible car customers.

To keep the payments of refunds as simple as possible, we're not offering this option.
No, we'll be refunding the payments to our customers' bank accounts so that we can keep the method for payment of refunds as simple as possible.

No, we will not ask you to send us your bank account or credit card details by email or text. To receive your refund, you will be given a link to a secure form on our website if you need to provide bank account details. Please do not reply to any email or text that asks you for your bank account or credit card details directly.

Your refund will not show anywhere in the My Insurance portal as it is a direct credit from us to your bank account.

The refund is based on our lower car claims costs during the COVID-19 lockdown, totalling $7.2 Million (excluding GST). We have shared this amount between our eligible car customers, and this has resulted in a refund equal to 45% of the value of the car premiums paid during the relevant period.

The COVID-19 lockdown was an unprecedented event. Our usual pricing does take into account that some people drive their cars more and some less than average, but the lockdown was a unique event and that’s why we’re refunding the lower car claims costs we saw as a result.

If you have any further questions you can email us at help@trademeinsurance.co.nz and someone from the team will get back to you within 3 business days.

Tower gives back $7.2m to customers and says refunding COVID-19 car claim reductions is the right thing to do

5 June 2020

Kiwi insurer, Tower, has today confirmed that it will be refunding customers $7.2m, due to the lower cost of car claims during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Tower CEO, Richard Harding, said that every customer would be refunded part of the car insurance premiums they paid during the level three and four lockdowns.

“We’re a Kiwi company and look after our customers, so after seeing a significant reduction in claims, we knew the right thing to do was pass these lower costs on.

“For most customers, the refund will equate to around 40% to 45% of the car insurance premiums they paid between 24 March and 13 May 2020.

“We had planned to make refunds by the end of May, but because we also saw lower claims during the level 3 three lockdown, it’s taken us a little longer to calculate, so refunds will now be paid from late June.

Harding said it’s important that all insurers are transparent about how they are dealing with the windfall gain from lower claims during the COVID-19 lockdown, and this means being open about whether they will refund customers.

“Not making a windfall gain and refunding customers is the right thing to do, and while the lockdown could cause supply chain constraints and a slight uplift in claims expenses over the short term, the significant reduction in claims costs should be passed on,” said Harding.

Refund details

  • Refunds will be paid to all customers who held car insurance with Tower from 24 March 2020 to 13 May 2020, inclusive
  • Refunds will be calculated based on individual customers’ premiums paid, excluding taxes, fees and levies
  • Refunds will be prorated for customers who cancelled or joined Tower during the lockdown period
  • Tower will communicate directly with customers advising on how the refund will be paid, with refunds starting to be paid in late June
  • The total cost of the refund is offset by the reduced claims cost and will result in a neutral financial impact to Tower

For media queries, please contact: 

Nicholas Meseldzija
Head of Corporate Affairs and Reputation
Tower Limited
Mobile: +64 21 531 869
Email: nicholas.meseldzija@tower.co.nz