Insurers have provided $101m in support and assistance to communities so far this year.
Three major storms struck New Zealand in the first quarter of 2018: the January storms, Cyclone Fehi and ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita. Together, they totalled $101m in insured losses – money insurers have injected back into those communities to help with repairs and resettlement.
“Insurance is the support structure that helps people back on their feet after sudden and unexpected disasters like these storms,” said Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton. “After each of these severe storms, we’ve seen insurers getting out into communities, paying out on policies and giving people the assistance they need to repair and rebuild what they’ve lost.
“The insurance returns insurers make to communities, and the support those returns provide, is invaluable. Without them, severe weather events and other natural disasters would cripple our communities,” Grafton said.
Provisional data shows ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita has cost insurers just over $28.3m, across almost 4000 claims. Two-thirds of those claims were for homes and contents.
The January storms and Cyclone Fehi cost $34.2m and $38.5m respectively.
“In particular, the towns of Kaiaua and Thames suffered extensively. We went into these towns shortly after the storm passed, along with private insurers, to talk to residents about the help they needed and to listen to their experiences. It’s important to us as a sector to get claims resolved quickly so people can get back on their feet and talking to those affected is the first step,” Grafton said.
“The cost of this storm demonstrates the importance of adapting to climate change and putting processes and infrastructure improvements in place that minimise the costs and impacts of these events.
“As time goes on, we expect these sorts of events to become both more frequent and more severe. Every dollar spent on adaptation now will be more than repaid in future savings.