Combined claims for the Auckland Anniversary Weekend flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle stood at 96,586 claims worth $2.47 billion as of early April, according to the Insurance Council of New Zealand.

By April, insurers paid out over 33,000 claims, accounting for 34% of total claims. At the end of March, insurers had contributed $396 million to local communities, or just over $9.5 million per day.

"While insurers have made a good start on settling claims, it’s important to remain realistic about the rate of settlement from now on," said Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa chief executive, Tim Grafton. 

"Many motor and contents claims are straightforward to settle, re-lining house can take months, full rebuilds over a year. The most complex claims, typically with land issues, can take longer still. Insurers are in this for the long haul."

The two climate disasters have now surpassed the 45,000 claims worth $2.27 billion for the Kaikoura earthquake and are worth more than 80% of all general insurance claims paid across Aotearoa New Zealand last year ($3.077 billion).

A good start has been made on settling the more straightforward motor and contents claims, the ICNZ said.

Insurers are also making progress with flood-damaged homes that are now undergoing the strip-out, dry-out, re-line, and re-decoration process.

For the Auckland Anniversary Weekend event, 7,305 claims were settled out of 51,936 claims. Payouts as of April 4 totalled just over $248 million out of $1.308 billion (19%).

6,819 claims for Cyclone Gabrielle have been settled out of 44,650 total claims (15.3%), for a total payout of just over $147 million out of $1.155 billion (12.7%). In April, Hawke's Bay accounted for 14,707 (32.9%) of the 44,650 Gabrielle claims, but nearly $593 million (51.3%) of the claims by value.

Insurers are also focusing on the larger, more complex, and expensive claims that will take longer to settle. 

"There is typically a small proportion of high value claims that require a lot of work to settle," added Grafton. 

"These can be complex and time consuming to deal with and it’s important to be transparent with everybody about that. Insurers are in this for the long haul and will stand by their customers until the job is done.”

June 2023