By Sophie Boot
March 21 (BusinessDesk) - Ex-cyclone Fehi has cost insurers $38.5 million so far, with that expected to rise and the cost of other extreme weather not yet quantified, the Insurance Council said.
In late January, the storm slammed most of the country and led authorities to declare a state of emergency and ask people to avoid travelling by road in some parts of the South Island. Later that month, ex-cyclone Gita brought more rain, causing heavy flooding in some areas.
The Insurance Council said there had been about 3,300 claims for damage done by ex-cyclone Fehi, with the bulk of those domestic claims.
"We’ve had $65.2 million in insured losses from extreme weather events already this year, off the back of two storms in the first quarter of 2018, and we’re yet to receive the data for Cyclone Gita,” said chief executive Tim Grafton. "It’s important that we don’t lose sight of the impact cumulative extreme weather events can have. And this is the sort of thing we can expect to see with ongoing climate change – more frequent, more severe storms."
Last week, Meridian Energy said hydro storage levels increased in February as tropical storms brought heavy rainfalls, with South Island rainfall totals as high as 300 percent to 400 percent of average in places. Meridian's South Island storage was at 100 percent of average storage on March 11 while North Island storage stood at 158 percent, and national hydro storage increased from 92 percent to 107 percent of historical average in the month.