Insurers in New Zealand have disbursed $2.053 billion, as per an updated estimate, to cover general insurance claims arising from the twin climate disasters of the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.
These figures come from the Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ), which further projected a total cost of $3.5 billion spread across 112,812 claims.
The estimated value of claims for these events in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland has now exceeded $2 billion ($2.017 billion). In Hawke’s Bay, claims related to Cyclone Gabrielle have surpassed $1 billion ($1.066 billion).
The payouts until September 1, totalling $2.053 billion, cover approximately 64% of claims by volume and about 59% by value. Settlements have been proceeding as anticipated across various lines of insurance. By value, about 96% ($211.6 million) of motor claims and 84% ($216.3 million) of contents claims have been settled.
Business claims, being more intricate, have seen around 46% ($629.5 million) of claims settled. As expected, house claims have been progressing well, with 61% ($972 million) paid out of the estimated total claims worth approximately $1.6 billion for the two events. Numerous complex and high-value claims are yet to be settled.
The ICNZ noted that insurers have gleaned numerous lessons. The initial phase was challenging for all parties involved, but insurers swiftly mobilised extra resources, some from abroad, and devised long-term plans to handle claims. Consequently, a significant number of additional staff were deployed.
“We said when disaster struck that we’d be in this with customers for the long haul, and so it has proved. There is still a way to go for many customers and insurers realise the pressure many people are under and are trying to get things resolved,” Grafton said.
In addition to the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle events, extreme weather in the North Island between February 21 and 28 (2,801 claims, $20,780,996) and again from May 9-10 (3,822 claims, $41,399,639) have contributed to a total of 119,435 climate-related claims in 2023, amounting to around $3.563 billion.
Recently, insurance data provider PERILS placed insurance industry loss estimates stemming from Cyclone Gabrielle to $2.018 billion, its latest projected figures.
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