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New Zealand’s Northland flood losses climb

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Insurance claim payments for New Zealand’s July floods in Northland have reached $NZ37 million ($34 million), surpassing losses from severe weather that hit the country’s south earlier this year.

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) says the event has so far resulted in more than 2500 house and contents claims, more than 360 commercial or business-related claims and some 360 motor claims. The state-owned Earthquake Commission (EQC) has also received 306 land claims to date.

“The costs to recover from this event have already exceeded those of the February Southland floods that saw a state of emergency declared for Southland, Fiordland and Clutha,” ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton said.

The storms that hit the Northland region in July caused flooding and landslips. More than 250mm in 24 hours fell in some areas, including more than 150mm of rain at Whangarei in just four hours.

Insurers handling claims from the latest event have also been able, for the first time, to manage some claims for land damage on behalf of EQC, improving efficiencies and streamlining the process.

“Many customers were able to have their claim resolved through their insurer as a single point of contact, enabling them to get back on their feet as quickly as possible,” Mr Grafton said.

He says severe weather is predicted to become more frequent due to climate change.

“It is critical that we learn from these events and use them to inform ways to mitigate the risks they present so we can improve the resilience of our communities,” Mr Grafton said.