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Kaikoura earthquake claims reach NZ $2 billion


Insurance claims filed in both personal and commercial business lines that will fall to the private market for payment after the 14th November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake have now risen to NZ $2 billion (US $1.46 billion) according to the Insurance Council of New Zealand.

New Zealand earthquake damage picture from the GuardianThe earthquake struck the Kaikoura region of New Zealand on the 14th November 2016 at magnitude 7.8, causing widespread property and infrastructure damage across the affected regions of the country.

The insurance and reinsurance market-wide industry loss for the Kaikoura earthquake was anticipated to reach as high as NZ$5 billion or US$3.5 billion, with a significant proportion of that toll expected to be from business interruption claims.

The total value of insurance claims filed after the Kaikōura earthquake as at 31st August 2017 has passed the NZ $2 billion mark, with the majority of the losses in commercial claims at $1.48 billion, with residential property insurance claims amounting to nearly $0.55 billion.

The Insurance Council said that private insurers have completed 92% of all residential building assessments in the Upper South Island, which does suggest some further losses to be filed as the remaining assessments are made.

“We are pleased with our steady rate of progress and continue to have a high level of confidence that the majority of people will have received settlement offers by the end of this year. Seventy seven percent of all residential buildings had been assessed by the end of August compared with 62% in July and 51% in June” Insurance Council of NZ Chief Executive Tim Grafton said.

“We said we would have the majority of Kaikōura earthquake settlement offers made by year end. We are over half way and ahead of expectations.”

Private insurers have has almost 44,000 claims filed, with close to 32,000 for residential properties.

For commercial insurance claims, 76% by number had been fully or partially settled by the end of August this year, compared with 72% in July and 67% in June. In total, close to $420 million of commercial insurance claims from the earthquake have been partially or fully settled.

There will be additional business interruption claims which are not being counted here, with some falling to reinsurance capital.

The New Zealand government increased its estimate of the reinsurance recovery due for this quake in June, raising it from NZ$694 million at the end of 2016 to NZ$814 million at the end of March 2017.

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