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NZ insurers count cost of floods

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New Zealand insurers have received about 2000 claims amounting to nearly $NZ10 million ($8.9 million) following floods that swept across the lower North Island earlier this month.

Insurance Council of New Zealand CEO Tim Grafton says it will be some time before the final bill is known, as insurers work to speed up the rebuilding process.

“The priority now is for insurers to get assessors out to communities and get the claims process under way,” he said.

“Improving community resilience to extreme weather events is [also] a priority.”

More than 400 people were evacuated from Whanganui, Taranaki, Horowhenua, Manawatu and Rangitikei during the record floods, which caused power cuts and road closures. 

Community leaders say the clean-up may take another month.

Extensive flooding in Wellington and the lower North Island in May cost insurers almost $NZ20 million ($17.9 million), according to the council’s early estimates.

“Provisional figures show that cost was almost $NZ17 million ($15.2 million), including damage to commercial properties and business interruption cover costs of over $NZ9 million ($8 million),” Mr Grafton said. “House, contents and motor damage made up the balance of the damage.”