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New Zealand’s Largest Insurer Calls On New Government To Prioritise Flood Resilience

The economic toll of our summer of storms continues to mount, with insurance payouts now topping $1 billion, a number second only to the Christchurch earthquakes, AMI, State and NZI can reveal.

The country’s largest insurer has today also called on the new government to prioritise flood resilience work.

AMI, State and NZI have released the latest Wild Weather Tracker, which reveals 51,000 claims for the North Island floods and Cyclone Gabrielle, of which 99% (motor), 97% (contents), and 93% (home) of claims have now been settled.

Amanda Whiting, CEO of AMI, State and NZI says, “The number of claims and payments are only a partial reflection of the true social and economic cost of these events.

“For over a decade, we have been clear that New Zealand needs to take urgent action to keep people safe from the impacts of natural hazards and climate change.

“If we continue along this path, and do not act with urgency, New Zealanders will continue to be exposed to harm.

“It is also becoming evident to government and communities that a failure to reduce these risks may impact the long-term availability and affordability of insurance in some communities.”

The Wild Weather Tracker reveals that the economic impact of climate change is mounting overall, with average claim costs tracking upwards. Hawke’s Bay ($35,000), the West Coast ($30,000) and Gisborne Tairāwhiti ($21,000) are the country’s top-ranking regions for weather-related claim costs. *

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“This is a time of transition,” says Ms Whiting. “We need to ensure that we work together to prevent future storms having the same impact. There is some good work underway, and we have been pleased to contribute to working groups on natural hazard risk reduction, climate change adaptation, managed retreat, and of course, the ongoing work with the Cyclone Recovery Taskforce.

“It is critical that that work continues.

“We believe that the best way to keep insurance available and affordable is by reducing natural hazard risk through good planning decisions, investment in protection and resilience measures, and where necessary, through relocating people away from at-risk properties.

“My message to our new government would be to prioritise this important work.”

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