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Wanganui flood claims ‘may top $28m’

The numbers have not been crunched yet but insurance experts are anticipating the Wanganui floods will cost insurers plenty.

The Insurance Council of New Zealand has signalled damage from the weather bomb that hit the district on June 20-21 will far outstrip the $28 million that floods in the Dunedin area cost insurers.

An Insurance Council spokeswoman said the cost of claims from the Wanganui floods would not be finalised until early next month.

“The council puts out notices to all insurers and giving them about six weeks to come back to us with their assessments.

“It takes a while for people to get back into their damaged properties, then make their claims and have these assessed,” she said.

Meanwhile, Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said the flooding in the Otago city on June 2 and June 4, closed roads and highways and cut power to many residents.

Provisional figures show nearly 2000 domestic claims cost insurers almost $20 million, with almost 200 commercial and business interruption claims costing more than $8 million.

The remainder of claims was largely for vehicles.

But Mr Grafton said the claims from the Wanganui region were expected to top that because the council had received more than $10 million in claims within a matter of days.

The council’s message to those affected by flood damage was to make sure they had contacted their insurers as soon as possible.

“Taking photographic evidence of the flooding and damage to your property will help with your claims assessment,” he said.

The Wanganui weather event is the third on end that the insurance industry has had to deal with.

Apart from the flooding in Dunedin earlier last month, extensive flooding in Wellington and damage from a tornado that ripped through parts of Mount Maunganui in May, cost insurers almost $20 million. Most damage was the result of the storm that lashed Wellington and the lower North Island between May 13-15. Provisional figures show that cost was almost $17 million in the Wellington area while the tornado at Mount Maunganui on May 14 caused more than $2 million worth of insured damage.

Claims guide information says:

  • Contact your insurer, or insurance adviser
  • Act safely to prevent more damage to your building
  • Try to make the buildings safe and weatherproof
  • Take pictures of the damage(buildings and contents)
  • Keep all damaged items for inspection
  • Get essential services such as water, electricity, gas, sewerage repaired and keep copies of your bills
  • Make a list and take pictures of any perishables you have to dispose of
  • Do not start non-essential repairs without your insurance company’s approval

– Wanganui Chronicle/NZME


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