Figures released by the Insurance Council this morning show the provisional cost to insurers of the first storm of 2018 is likely to exceed $27 million. The total provisional cost, which encompasses claims made to private insurers in the first 6 weeks after the 4-7 January event, has come in at $26.7 million. “The storm of early January caused heavy flooding and substantial damage to the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty regions,” said ICNZ Chief Executive, Tim Grafton. “In particular, the towns of Kaiāua and Thames suffered extensively. We went into these towns shortly after the storm passed, along with private insurers, to talk to residents about the help they needed and to listen to their experiences. It’s important to us as a sector to get claims resolved quickly so people can get back on their feet and talking to those affected is the first step.” “The cost of this storm so far demonstrates the importance of adapting to climate change and putting processes and infrastructure improvements in place that minimise the costs and impacts of these events,” said Grafton. “As time goes on, we expect these sorts of events to become both more frequent and more severe. Every dollar spent on adaptation now will be more than repaid in future savings.” More than 3,600 claims have been placed so far with private insurers. Final figures for the storm are expected to be known by the end of May.