The south region of New Zealand was battered by high winds and storms in September costing insurers a total of $36.5 million in payouts. In total 4,346 claims were made, of which 2,360 were domestic, 1,337 commercial and 583 motor.
"This prolonged period of high winds and storms across much of the South Island once again shows the value of insurance to communities," said Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ) Chief Executive, Tim Grafton. "It’s often times when severe damage is caused that people realise the true value of insurance. The average house claim exceeded $4,000 while storm damage to motor vehicles led to many being written off with average claims running at $10,870."
Compared to 2020 the total spent on extreme weather events has increased by $47.6 million, setting a new record.
Effects of climate change on extreme weather events
According to the ICNZ this increase is linked to climate change, with extreme weather events becoming ‘more frequent and severe’.
The NIWA confirmed 2021 was the ‘hottest year on record’ with temperatures significantly higher than previous years.
Insurers called upon following volcanic eruption
Unfortunately, extreme weather is not the only problem. The tsunami, triggered by the eruption of the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai volcano, on Saturday the 15 January, has caused flooding and destruction to the coastline of New Zealand.
ICNZ have joined the Harbour Master and management team at Tutukaka marina in attempts to clear up the damage.
"While the focus for most is rightly on the direct impacts of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai eruptions across Tonga and neighbouring Pacific Islands, closer to home, insurers have a responsibility to get on with the job of arranging the safe clearance of wrecks from Tutukaka marina, pollution control, securing vessels and assisting in getting the marina fully functioning again," said Grafton.
"Marine losses in Aotearoa New Zealand are expected to be just a footnote to the full social, physical and economic impacts felt by our Pacific neighbours as a result of the eruption.” he continued. “While we’re getting on with the job in hand at Tutukaka marina, our thoughts are with our Pacific neighbours."