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July 'weather bomb' costs NZ insurers $133 million so far

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The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) says the July “weather bomb” storm event has so far cost the industry about $NZ140.5 million ($133.7 million) in payouts from 5534 claims.

Only last year’s Timaru hailstorm - $NZ170 million ($161 million) - 2004’s lower North Island storm - $NZ148 million inflation adjusted ($140.7 million) and 1984’s Invercargill flood - $NZ147.7 million inflation adjusted ($140.4 million) - have been more costly extreme weather events for the industry, the ICNZ said.

ICNZ says the July 16-19 storm left a raft of damage across much of the country, with severe flood damage in Westport, as well as slips and flooding throughout the upper South Island, lower North Island and Wellington.

House and contents accounted for the largest portion of damage caused, with insured losses of $NZ111.95 million ($106.4 million) from 3939 claims.

Commercial material damage placed second on $NZ19.88 million ($18.9 million) from 945 claims, followed by motor vehicle insured losses of $NZ5.78 million ($5.5 million) from 570 claims.

The other losses comprised of busines interruption/loss of profits, at $NZ1.19 million ($1.13 million) from 44 claims, marine, at $NZ150,000 ($142,000) from 120 claims and other, at $NZ1.55 million ($1.47 million) from 24 claims.

“The importance and value of insurance is powerfully demonstrated during events like this,” ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton said.

“Insurers can often provide immediate assistance covering emergency repairs, providing cash advances or emergency accommodation depending on the policy.

“COVID, disrupted supply chains and increased costs, often borne by insurers, and shortages of materials and tradies mean this can take longer than in the past, but it’s something the sector is committed to working through with communities.”