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NZ weather losses set annual record

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New Zealand weather-related insurance losses have reached a record $NZ242.7 million ($218.9 million) this year after a series of extreme storms.

The remnants of Cyclone Debbie caused the most expensive event in early April, leading to 5470 claims totalling $NZ91.5 million ($82.5 million), the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) says.

Upper North Island flooding in March generated losses of $NZ61.7 million ($55.7 million) and South Island floods in July totalled $NZ31.2 million ($28.1 million).

Other significant events included damage from the tail end of Cyclone Cook, which followed closely behind Debbie, the Port Hills fires in February and snow, wind and rain in July.

“These figures are a clear sign of the impact climate change is having on our country,” ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton said. “As time goes on, we expect to see more of these sorts of extreme weather events occurring.”

ICNZ data shows house and contents claims comprised more than half of all insured losses, with $NZ154.2 million ($139.1 million) paid out by insurers. Commercial accounted for $NZ71.1 million ($64.1 million) in losses from 3917 claims.

Some 25,564 claims were received across home and contents, commercial, marine, motor and other areas.

Mr Grafton says insurers are working with central and local governments to help address areas of future risk.