Weather bombs cause $84M damage

Cyclones in April caused widespread flooding and damage.

The two cyclones that pounded New Zealand during April and caused residents of Edgecumbe to be evacuated have resulted in insured costs of $84 million.

The tail end of Cyclone Debbie, which passed over New Zealand between April 3 and 7, cost insurers $66.4 million, followed closely by Cyclone Cook between April 13 and 16 at $18 million. 

This brings the total to date for flood losses for significant weather events for 2017 to $135.5 million, says the Insurance Council of New Zealand reported today.

“We’re not even half way through 2017 and well on the way to one of the most damaging in recent years for extreme weather events,” says Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton.

Provisional data released today has nearly 6400 house and contents claims costing $61.6 million, 1016 commercial material damage and business interruption claims at $16.8 million and 549 motor vehicle claims costing $4.8 million.

“The weather bombs we’ve had this year highlights the importance insurance plays when disaster strikes.  In towns such as Edgecumbe where there are significant numbers of residents not insured, the Government is sending all the wrong signals by increasing the cost of insurance,” he says.

“Major increases in taxes and levies on people who insure their homes could see low income households not able to protect themselves from disasters.

“Hikes in the earthquake and fire service levies means people with house and contents insurance will be taxed over $450 annually without even counting the 15 per cent GST applied to the premium that the insurer charges.” 

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