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Recovery From Freak Tornado Storm Sees Insurance Customers Claim $10.8m

Preliminary figures for the tornado and storm that ripped through the upper North Island on 26-27 June have seen insured losses reach $10.8 million.

The fierce winds and tornado led to widespread damage throughout the greater Auckland region, with close to 1,100 claims received to date by insurers.

"Costs to recover from freak storms like this can escalate quickly, just think of the November Timaru hailstorm that reached $130m," says Tim Grafton, Chief Executive Insurance Council of New Zealand.

"Insurance is there to help restore loss after disaster. It is really important that people insure adequately for unexpected events which we can unfortunately expect to happen more frequently due to the growing impacts of climate change in New Zealand."

Insurers have supported their customers recovery since late June, with over 850 domestic house and contents claims and close to 150 commercial and business-related claims.

While the suddenness of this weather event didn’t provide time to prepare, ICNZ has some simple steps to follow to help minimise storm damage:

- If strong winds are forecast secure large items such as umbrellas and outdoor furniture, turn trampolines upside down, and pack away smaller items that may become airborne

- For heavy rain or floods - take action early, move your car out of flood danger, put valuable goods higher up, raise electrical items and unplug them, and clear blocked gutters and drains before the rain starts

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- Make sure emergency kits are well stocked

- Check on neighbours and friends and make sure any steps taken to help make your properties storm safe don’t put anyone’s personal safety at risk.

ICNZ says that if you experience damage from a weather event contact your insurer or broker as soon as possible. "The sooner you get in touch the sooner they can help you with the recovery, letting you focus on more important things like looking after each other."

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