Property damage claims from bad weather are up a third on last year, according to insurer IAG. 

The insurance group released its latest Wild Weather Tracker analysing the six months from March to August this year compared to the same time period last year.

According to the underwriter, there were more than 13,000 claims from the 11 significant storms over the past six months, which was one fewer large event than the previous year.

New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, accounted for 37% of the damage, Canterbury 10%, and Wellington 8%. 

IAG also provided an update on damage experienced during August’s storms in the Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough region. 

It said it was set to pay out more than $20 million to more than 1700 customers.

IAG said the lack of action on climate change left the nation at risk.

Dr Bruce Buckley, IAG’s chief meteorologist, said NZ was susceptible to the cumulative effects of rising sea levels, warmer seas, and tropical weather systems affected by rising temperatures. 

"Warmer air holds more water,” Buckley said.

"Right now, there are tropical moisture sources that can hold 20% more water in the air than what we typically saw a generation ago. So, the August floods in Nelson Tasman are a classic example of warmer tropical seas feeding greater quantities of moisture into extremely damaging, heavy rainbands."

While in the past, tropical cyclones would weaken before they reached NZ, warmer sea temperatures meant more severe systems would get closer to Aotearoa, Buckley added.

Poll reveals climate attitudes

IAG also revealed the results of its latest nationwide survey on climate change. The group found that 71% kiwis agreed that climate change was a contributor to wild weather.

The survey also found:

•        82% of people believe wild weather is increasing in frequency and severity

•        69% of people are concerned about the potential impacts of wild weather

•        40% have taken precautions to prepare for wild weather in the past six months

•        42% are either not at all prepared or only a little prepared for a storm.

December 2022