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Canterbury floods trigger more than 3500 claims

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Insurance customers in New Zealand’s Canterbury region have so far lodged 3538 claims worth $NZ43.8 million ($41.41 million) following floods during May 29-June 1, the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) says.

The total includes 2327 home and contents claims, 288 motor claims, 842 commercial and business-related claims, and 77 crop and other claims, such as livestock.

ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton says the floods began what is proving to be a stormy winter for the country.

“We can expect to see more frequent and disruptive weather events as the effects of climate change increase and sadly we are starting to see that pattern emerge,” he said.

“It has never been more important to look at how we manage this and what steps we need to take to control, adapt, avoid and accept the risks they present.”

ICNZ is urging that infrastructure such as stormwater systems be improved, more resilient residential and commercial buildings be constructed, and that new properties not be consented to in higher risk areas.

Insurer Tower has said it faces an ultimate cost of about $NZ2.8-3 million ($2.6-2.8 million) from the recent floods.

The entire Canterbury region was declared a state of emergency as the heavy rains and flooding prompted the evacuation of hundreds of residents. MetService issued a red warning for only the second time due to the heavy rain.