The ram raid epidemic has made ripples in the insurance world as newly-released data reveals more than 400 per cent more claims regarding ramraids were made than two years earlier.
It’s one of several statistics that prove an escalation in commercial crime, which according to New Zealand Insurance (NZI) resulted in 3698 claims in 2022.
That’s 26 per cent more claims than in 2021 and the most NZI has seen in at least the past five years.
Auckland appears to be bearing the brunt of commercial crime, more than a third of the country’s commercial claims came from the city of sails which is well above Waikato and Christchurch.
A likely factor is the city’s population, NZI executive general manager Garry Taylor said.
“It’s clear that businesses right across the country are suffering from an increase in crime, particularly burglary.”
Last year, Auckland was the most common source of ramraid claims. Photo / Hayden Woodward
Burglary has been the most common type of commercial crime claim for the last five years and Auckland and the Bay of Plenty were the two districts where the most burglary claims were made.
Taylor has suggested a factor in the crime spike is the addition of vape products in dairies, which he believes has increased the risk of burglaries.
“Over the past decade, security measures for cigarettes have been developed and improved and are now at generally good standards,” he said.
“However, vaping products, which are newer to New Zealand, tend to have fewer security measures, making them common targets for thieves.”
It’s ram raids in particular that have captured most of the public’s attention, known for the devastation they cause for shop owners across the country.
Last year, Auckland was the most common source of ram raid claims, heading up the top three alongside the Waikato and Canterbury.
The 2022 national total of 213 ram raid claims revealed a sharp increase in the burglary method - 132 per cent more than the year prior and 420 per cent more than in 2020, when only 41 claims were made.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing ram raids feature more often,” said Taylor.
NZI's executive general manager Garry Taylor.
“These crimes are incredibly disruptive, and it can take a long time for businesses to recover. Often there is significant damage to the building, on top of the loss of stock.”
Taylor also mentioned in some parts of the country, supply chain shortages have meant lead times to procure glass shop fronts and tradespeople has increased.
NZI, which oversees brands like AMI and IAG and insures one in every two households in New Zealand, has noted ram raiders have typically made off with branded goods and items easily disposable through social media.
This can include branded clothing, sports gear and surfing products.
“Power tools and cigarettes have traditionally been stolen, but vape products are now frequent targets too,” said Taylor
Northland had the highest average cost of retail theft-related claims, despite the region only making up 1 per cent of the total theft claims.
Taylor provided guidance for businesses trying to steer clear from becoming a victim of commercial crime, starting with the importance of talking with an insurance broker for specific advice for their situation.
He also suggested investing in steel bollards, which are strong visual deterrents, and moving stock out of sight, as well as emptying the till draw to show it’s empty.
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