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ICNZ Warns Country Must Adapt to Extreme Weather Events

MEDIA RELEASE

October 16, 2013

ICNZ Warns Country Must Adapt to Extreme Weather Events

The cost of insured damage from extreme weather events for 2013 is likely to be over $100 million, making it the most costly year from storms in New Zealand since 2004, according to the Insurance Council of New Zealand.

“Improving community resilience to extreme weather events is now a priority,” says ICNZ Chief Executive Tim Grafton. “New Zealand has to plan and adapt in ways that will reduce the impact of natural disasters because every dollar spent in pre-disaster adaptation measures saves many more after the event.

“This one storm (14/15 October 2013) will not result in an increase in premiums but if New Zealand doesn’t adapt to changing climate conditions, there will be increased claims and higher losses leading to higher premiums or even cover being withdrawn in some areas.  We need to think about how to manage risk not assume that insurance manages it all for us.  It doesn't”.

ICNZ welcomed the Government’s recent announcement to spend up to $201 million on scientific research aimed at strengthening New Zealand’s resilience to natural hazards over the next 10 years.

“More research such as this is needed to inform the frequency and magnitude of weather events and high-grade modelling which builds in cascading events - floods bring with them landslides, storms bring winds and with high tides come storm surges,” says Mr Grafton.  “We also need to see a consistent approach to hazard-mapping around the country which in turn informs consenting and design processes”.

“Improving community resilience to extreme weather events is the responsibility of government, local authorities, policymakers, businesses and the public alike especially if we are to ensure a rapid recovery after a disaster hits and the ongoing availability and affordability of insurance in the future,” he says.

2013 Insured Damage from Storms To Date

   Provisional
$ million
Final
$ million
 TOTAL
$ million
2013Nationwide storms20-22June$        33.90   
2013Nelson/Bay of Plenty storm and floods19-22 April $         46.20  
2013North Island Floods4-7 May $           2.90  
   $        33.90  $         49.10  $       83.00

Summary of Insured Storm Damage for 2004

   Final
$ million
2004Storm Damage - North Island20 & 21 Jan0.94
2004Flooding - Hawkes Bay18-Oct5.9
2004Eastern Bay of Plenty Floods17 & 19-Jul21.77
2004Storms - North and South Islands15 & 20 Aug10.74
2004Storm Damage - Lower Nth Island15 &16 Feb140.06
2004Wanganui Hailstorm6-Apr1.62
   181.03

ENDS

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