Insurance claims by the Auckland Anniversary floods & Cyclone Gabrielle

Insurers have so far paid out NZ$1.08bn ($677m) of an estimated NZ$3.18bn over 107,569 claims arising from the twin climate disasters of the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle, according to Insurance Council of New Zealand.

The general insurance sector incurred total claims of NZ$3.1bn in 2022 while claims for 2016’s Kaikoura earthquake totalled NZ$2.3bn.

Climate change worsened flooding from a tropical cyclone that shut down much of New Zealand last month in one of the country’s costliest disasters, scientists said, but they couldn’t quite calculate how much it magnified the catastrophe.

Insurance claims by the Auckland Anniversary floods & Cyclone Gabrielle

While we are pleased that good progress is being made, with 35% of claims already fully settled (34% by $ 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, Mr Tim Grafton

In addition to having paid out over NZ$1bn, 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.

Insurance claims by the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle

 Auckland AnniversaryCyclone Gabrielle
Claims received55,43352,136
Claims settled18,65318,673
Claims open36,7833,463
 
(including partially settled)
Claims paid to date (NZ$)598,729,857479,180,456
Estimated cost (NZ$)1,659,142,2501,516,578,384
Source: ICNZ

Insurance claims by Total of both events

 Total of both events
Claims received107,569
Claims settled37326 (35%)
Claims open70,243
 
(including partially settled)
Claims paid to date (NZ$)1,077,910,313 (34%)
Estimated cost (NZ$)3,175,720,634
Source: ICNZ

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.

climate disasters in New Zealand

A flash study by 23 scientists from around the globe found that global warming from the burning of fossil fuels added to the downpours from Cyclone Gabrielle that included at least six hours of deluges of nearly an inch per hour (20 millimeters per hour) of driving rain.

Climate change is a serious concern for flooding in New Zealand and you’ve got to understand these are gigantic amounts of rainfal

Sam Dean, a co-author and scientist at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

But normal methods to quantify how much climate change added to the disaster weren’t conclusive enough for scientists because weather records there don’t go back very far, the area affected was relatively small and the region is subject to naturally high weather variability.

Nataly Kramer   by Nataly Kramer