2014 proves costly for insurers

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 17:19 09/07/2014

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A storm that brought widespread flooding to Christchurch in early March cost the insurance industry $22.5 million.

The Insurance Council of New Zealand today published the final cost to the industry of the March 4 and 5 storm, noting $21.6m of the money paid out for the event was for damage in Canterbury, where more than 4000 claims were settled.

Twice as expensive for the industry was the Easter weekend storm in mid-April, which has so far cost $45.6m with those figures still provisional and due to be updated.

So far four storms in the first half of 2014 have cost the industry a total of $76.9m, compared to the total for all of 2013 - the second most expensive year for insured weather losses - of more than $174m.

The council said more than 15,800 weather-related insurance claims were settled in the first half of 2014.

In the early March storm, strong southerlies cut power to homes in Banks Peninsula and Christchurch, roofs were lifted, windows blown in and trees knocked over. Heavy rain also caused extensive flooding in Christchurch, with more than 100 homes reported to have been inundated with water.

Large waves in Cook Strait washed debris over many roads along Wellington's south coast.

In the Easter weekend storm heavy rain associated with the remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Ita caused flooding in areas including Nelson, Marlborough, Wellington and Coromandel Peninsula.

Slips closed numerous roads, including State Highway 1 south of Ward. A slip also led to the evacuation of two buildings in Wellington's Oriental Parade.

Cyclone Lusi in mid-March cost the industry $4m, while a storm in Canterbury on February 23 cost $4.8m.

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