Insurers pay out $84m for damage from April's wild weather video

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/Stuff.co.nz

Edgecumbe residents were left homeless and had many questions after the Rangitaiki river burst its banks.

It's been a bad year for insurance companies, with claims to date racking up a bumper number of extreme weather insurance claims. 

Cyclones Cook and Debbie which pounded New Zealand in April and caused residents of Edgecumbe to be evacuated have cost insurers $84 million, according to the Insurance Council.

The tail end of Cyclone Debbie which passed over New Zealand between April 3 and 7 cost insurers $66.4m, followed closely by Cook which struck between April 13 and 16 and cost $18m. 

Bill Rackham, of Urban Search and Rescue, at the site of a Edgecumbe house which was pushed off its foundations by the ...
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Bill Rackham, of Urban Search and Rescue, at the site of a Edgecumbe house which was pushed off its foundations by the force of the flooding.

So far this year, claims for flood losses from significant weather events have totalled $135.5m, including $42m stemming from heavy rain in Auckland and the Coromandel in March.

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The council's chief executive Tim Grafton said it had been a bad year for weather-related claims.

Residents and volunteers clean up Edgecumbe after a devastating flood in April
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Residents and volunteers clean up Edgecumbe after a devastating flood in April

"We're not even half way through 2017 and well on the way to one of the most damaging in recent years for extreme weather events."

The two cyclones created nearly 6400 house and contents claims costing $61.6m, 1016 commercial material damage and business interruption claims costing $16.8m and 549 motor vehicle claims costing $4.8m.

Grafton also spoke out against big jumps in taxes and levies on home insurance, which he feared could price it out of the reach of low income households.

Rescue workers trudge through the water after a fruitless search for a pet.
FAIRFAX NZ

Rescue workers trudge through the water after a fruitless search for a pet.

"In towns such as Edgecumbe where there are significant numbers of residents not insured, the Government is sending all the wrong signals by increasing the cost of insurance," he said.

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The Government is planning a 3 per cent rise in Earthquake Commission (EQC) levies from November 1, and a 40 per cent increase on the Fire Service levy from July 1.

The insurance industry wants the levies scrapped, and to have EQC and the Fire Service funded directly by the Government.

Grafton said the hikes would mean people with house and contents insurance would be taxed over $450 annually, "without even counting the 15 per cent GST applied to the premium that the insurer charges".

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 - Stuff

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