April saw another major storm sweep New Zealand, cutting power for thousands over the course of several days, and resulting in over 13,000 insurance claims costing over NZ$72 million. The Insurance Council of New Zealand said that the storm, which hit over 10 and 11 April, was the year’s most expensive thusfar, costing more than cyclones Gita and Fehi put together.
“Last year was the most expensive year on record for severe weather events,” said Tim Grafton, Chief Executive of the Insurance Council, “with $243 million in insured losses. This storm brings the total for this year to $173.1 million and we are only in May and still have the late-April floods to calculate so it is not hard to imagine this year being another big one.”
In the face of escalating extreme weather events, the Insurance Council said that it welcomed the recent publication of Adapting to Climate Change in New Zealand, the official recommendations of the Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group.
“Every dollar spent on adaptation now will be more than repaid in future savings,” said Grafton. “The longer we wait to adapt, the more it will cost us, and if we fail to adapt altogether it will cost us the most.”