March weather cost insurers $30m

Two days of wild weather in March that caused several rivers to overflow has cost insurers $30 million dollars, the Insurance Council of New Zealand says.

Hundreds of people were evacuated after 350mm of rain in a 24-hour period caused the West Coast’s Waiho River to burst its banks.  Strong winds also brought down trees and power cables in other parts of the country.

Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said  in a media release that while the extreme weather was widespread throughout both islands over 23 and 24 March, “a large proportion of the damage was narrowly focused with a Franz Josef hotel being hardest hit, which just goes to show large losses don’t just happen in built up urban areas”.

Data released show that $27.5m of the $30m was related to commercial material damage and business interruption costs.

House, contents and motor damage made up the balance of the damage.  Events like this just underline the importance insurance plays when disaster strikes” he said.

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