The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) has today issued updated figures for weather-related losses during 2019, with insurers paying $167.6 million to support their customers recover from severe weather events.

The figures follow finalising claims for the 20 November Timaru hailstorm, which increased from $83 million to $130.7 million, and the 18 November Christchurch Tornado which increased to $4.04 million. The Timaru hailstorm now stands out as the second most costly weather event this century.

“The figures reflect the true cost of weather events and the vital role insurance plays in supporting communities,” says Tim Grafton, CE ICNZ. “While the Timaru hailstorm lasted minutes, the destructive nature of the event was felt by thousands of locals.  Insurance support for people equates to more than $2,700 for every man, woman and child that live in the city.”

Mr Grafton says this reiterates the important role of insurance to help in the wake of a natural disaster or weather event.

“Events like the Timaru hailstorm show us how quickly costs can escalate. The updated figures make it the second most costly weather event since 2000, sitting just behind the 2004 Lower North Island Storms at $148.3 million – which was for a much larger region.

“The very nature and impact of the hailstorm shows why it is so important that Kiwis have the support insurance provides to help get them back on their feet when the unforeseen happens.”

Mr Grafton says this has been a core focus for ICNZ‘s members in their response to COVID-19, with a range of measures implemented to help customers facing financial hardship keep insurance cover in place.

2019 insured loses (*preliminary figure)

Eventtotal insured losses ($m)
Tasman District fires 5-23 Feb$3.9
West Coast wind 26-27 March$4.09
Taranaki and Auckland Storms 10-13 August$7.8
Christchurch Tornado 18 November$4.04
Timaru hailstorm 20 November$130.7
National storm including Southern Lakes flooding 3-18 Dec$17.0*
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