New Zealand flood loss pegged at £850m: Perils

Insured losses from floods that struck New Zealand’s North Island earlier this year will reach NZD 1.65bn (£850m), according to Swiss cat data firm Perils.

This is the costliest weather event for the region’s insurance industry to date, said Perils.

It explained that the loss figure covers property damage and is based data on collected from the majority of New Zealand’s insurance market.

The floods hit the island from 27 January to 2 February. The heavy rains led to flooding in Auckland and the surrounding regions of the North Island.

The record rainfall was driven by a pronounced atmospheric river that brought moist and warm air masses to New Zealand and collided with strong easterly winds that triggered the heavy convective rainfall over the North Island.

Perils said similar rainstorms have occurred in the past but did not impact major cities.

Darryl Pidcock, head of Perils Asia-Pacific, said: “This event is unprecedented, being the largest weather-related insurance industry loss historically for New Zealand. It is the third-largest cat event for the sector, only surpassed by the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010/11 and the Kaikoura Earthquake of 2016.”

“In addition, Cyclone Gabrielle passed through the North Island region only ten days after the North Island Floods, causing considerable damage and leaving many people homeless. For two such extreme weather events to occur within such a short period is unprecedented in New Zealand’s recent history and will test the industry’s existing understanding of these perils,” he added.

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