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2013 Second Most Expensive Year On Record For Weather Damage

2013 Second Most Expensive Year On Record For Insured Weather Damage

2013 will prove to be one of the most expensive years for weather-related damage with over $174 million of insured costs arising from weather-related events.

“Last year was one of the most costly years for weather losses since the Insurance Council started tracking these losses on a regular basis back in 1968, the year of the Wahine disaster,” said Mr Tim Grafton, Chief Executive of the Insurance Council of New Zealand.

“This further reinforces the value of insurance in safeguarding New Zealand by being able to meet costs of this scale,” he said.

The cost of insured damage in 2013 was exceeded only by 2004 when there was $181 million worth of insured damage (inflation adjusted as at 2011). 1984 was another expensive year with $155 million worth of insured damage.

The storm that wreaked the most havoc in 2013 was the one that hit 11-12 September with $74.5 million of insured losses making that alone the third most expensive storm event in the past 45 years. This was the storm that saw considerable damage to irrigators in Canterbury. Not surprisingly commercial losses from that storm were significant with $42 million damage to commercial property and a further $3.1 million in business interruption payments. Domestic-related losses amounted to $ 18 million and damage to motor vehicles amounted to $9.5 million.

Other damaging storms occurred in April 2013 when $46.2 million of insured damage was done and in June when $39.3 million worth of insured losses.

“The Insurance Council’s members’ losses for 2013 stands at $174 million, but we are still awaiting final figures for the 14-16 October storm where losses provisionally stand at $10.2 million,” said Mr Grafton.

“Climate change scenarios point to higher levels of rain in parts of the country already prone to flooding and for stronger winds from the west. This underlines the need for New Zealand to focus on pre-disaster mitigation and adaptation strategies to minimise economic losses and social disruption,” he said.

The Insurance Council was established in 1895 and has 29 members which write the majority of New Zealand’s general insurance business. Members currently protect approximately $0.55 trillion of New Zealanders’ assets and in 2012 paid $2.2 billion in claims.


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