Timaru hailstorm now NZ’s costliest weather event since 2000

Insured losses continue to climb as more damages are identified and reported

Timaru hailstorm now NZ’s costliest weather event since 2000

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Almost a year since the Timaru hailstorm on November 20, 2019, insured losses have now exceeded $170 million, according to the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ).

Tim Grafton, ICNZ chief executive, said in a statement that the revised figure reflects the true cost of weather events and reiterates the important role of insurance to support the recovery of communities.

“While the Timaru hailstorm lasted minutes, it shows us how quickly costs can escalate,” he said. “The insurance support now equates to more than $3,800 for every man, woman and child that lives in the city.”

The total was reported as $130 million in May but it has now increased by around $40 million. This makes the Timaru hailstorm New Zealand’s costliest weather event since 2000, overtaking the 2004 Lower North island Storms that cost $148.3 million.

Motor insurance claims, numbering 12,078, made up more than half of the bill at $86.2 million. This was followed by almost 5,800 home & contents claims at $59.6 million.

“The late increase in the number and cost of insured losses is not surprising and can happen with these types of events,” said Grafton. “Claims for areas which aren’t readily seen, such as roofs, took time to identify and report.

“As expected, while members acted quickly to support customers, the scale of damage caused by this event has taken many months to repair and was unfortunately hampered by both lockdown restrictions and the region’s building boom for roof repairs.”

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