Cyclone Gabrielle, Auckland floods bring more than $1 billion in insurance losses

  • 22/06/2023

Cyclone Gabrielle and floods in Auckland have led to insurers paying out more than $1 billion, the Insurance Council (ICNZ) says.

Claims from those natural disasters totalled about $3.1b, $1.08b of which had been paid out so far, the council said.

That's compared to the $3.08b worth of general insurance claims lodged through all of last year.

"While we are pleased that good progress is being made, with 35 percent of claims already fully settled (34 percent by dollar value), we said in February that many of the more complex, claims would take many months, and some over a year or more, to complete," ICNZ chief executive Tim Grafton said in a statement. "There is much yet to be done."

For context, insurance claims for the Kaikōura earthquake in 2016 totalled $2.27b, the council said.

Scientists have said weather events are being made worse by climate change and more natural disasters are expected in the years to come.

"Insurers are committed to supporting their customers on their recovery journeys," ICNZ said.

"In addition to having paid out over $1b, insurers have bought in hundreds of extra staff since these events and have been working hard with councils, in communities and with individual customers to help them get back on their feet.

"For some customers, there is a long road ahead while they work through the categorisation process with their council. Insurers are committed to standing by their customers until all claims are settled," added Grafton.

Cyclone Gabrielle in February cut off entire towns and washed away farms, bridges, livestock and inundated homes and businesses.

The Hawke's Bay and Gisborne regions were the worst-affected.

Just a month prior, Auckland was devastated by flash-flooding prompted by record-breaking rainfall.

The Government has so far allocated more than $1 billion to help communties recover from the weather events.