The insurance and reinsurance industry loss estimate for Cyclone Gabrielle’s impacts in New Zealand has been lifted by 25% to NZ $1.925 billion by PERILS AG.
Cyclone Gabrielle drove heavy rainfall and strong winds to the North Island of New Zealand between February 11th and 17th 2023 becoming one of the most significant property insurance losses for the country.
Catastrophe loss data aggregator PERILS placed an initial industry loss estimate of NZ $1.543 billion on the cyclone back at the end of March 2023, which was just under US $1 billion at the time.
The updated estimate of NZ $1.925 billion is a 25% increase and takes the total to just over US $1.2 billion.
The estimates are based solely on the property line of insurance business and is gathered from reporting insurers in the New Zealand market.
The loss from Cyclone Gabrielle came soon after a severe flooding that affected Auckland and surrounding areas of New Zealand.
On that flood loss, PERILS placed an initial industry loss estimate of NZ $1.65 billion which it later raised by just over 6% to almost NZ $1.76 billion.
Some insurers had previously said they anticipated making reinsurance recoveries after the flooding a cyclone, two of the worst weather disasters in New Zealand’s recent history.
Recently, New Zealand based insurance company Tower Limited said it could make reinsurance recoveries of as much as $276 million for the flooding and cyclone events.
Darryl Pidcock, Head of PERILS Asia-Pacific, said, “We have observed an increase in the industry loss by 25% since our first loss report. This is a significant increase and mainly driven by an increase in average claims size across residential and commercial property lines.
“Whilst the damage of the preceding North Island flood was focused on Auckland and surrounding urban areas, Gabrielle’s impact was more widespread and had a greater impact on rural areas.
“New Zealand has to date experienced nearly NZD 3.7 billion in insured losses from the two events, which is by far the highest in recorded history for weather-related events in the region.”
The combined NZ $3.7 billion converts to just over US $2.31 billion as of today’s rate.
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