AMI, NZI and State Insurance reveal claims numbers and costs in new report documenting climate change impacts
IAG, on behalf of its State, AMI and NZI brands, has today launched the Wild Weather Tracker (the Tracker), a new, regular analysis of insurance claims data, to help people prepare and protect themselves from wild weather.
Amanda Whiting, Chief Executive IAG New Zealand says, “As New Zealand’s largest general insurer, with a relationship with one in every two New Zealand households, we see first-hand the impact of climate change through changing weather patterns on our communities.
“We know that New Zealand’s weather can be unpredictable, but our claims data clearly shows that severe weather is becoming more frequent and more damaging to people’s homes and property. We expect that these events will only increase as our climate warms.
“In 2021, the number of storms, floods and other instances of wild weather we recorded was 175% higher than what we recorded 10 years ago, in 2012. If we look at the last five years, from 2017-2021, we recorded twice as many instances of wild weather than the previous five years, from 2012-2016.
“During the last six months alone, AMI, State, and NZI Insurance received over 8,000 claims for property damage caused by severe weather. This is 32% higher than the same period last year.
“But these are not merely interesting data points: every single claim is a family, individual or business needing to rebuild after the heart-breaking devastation of a storm.”
Greater investment in infrastructure required
Amanda Whiting, Chief Executive IAG New Zealand says, “Insurance is here to support kiwis when things go wrong, but there’s so much more we need to be doing to keep New Zealanders safe from the impacts of natural disasters.
“Insurance is one component of this solution. It is not the full answer. The most important thing we can do is to ensure people are not in harm’s way. Avoiding the impact on lives and people’s wellbeing must be the priority.
“This requires greater investment in infrastructure and other solutions that either protect people or move them out of harm’s way. We are working closely with the public sector to help achieve this.
“We hope that by regularly publishing the Tracker, people will clearly see the impact climate change is having on our communities and be able to better prepare.”
Weather makes up higher share of property claims
Data in the Wild Weather Tracker shows that relative to total house claims, the proportion caused by severe weather has fluctuated between 3% and 23% over the last decade.
In 2021, severe weather made up 16% of all house claims, approximately 40% above the average. This high share of claims has not been experienced since 2016-2017.
In the last six months, Canterbury was hardest hit, with 21% of all weather-related claims, and Auckland and Waikato at 15% each. House claims were the most common, making up 62%, followed by contents claims at 16%.
Preparation is key
IAG’s Executive General Manager Claims, Wayne Tippet says, “Our natural perils team has been studying the impacts of the changing climate for nearly 20 years and is clearly seeing storms becoming more frequent and more severe. We also work closely with our customers when these events happen, and we see first-hand the enormous impacts of wild weather throughout New Zealand.
“While reducing carbon emissions is the most important collective action we can take to stop the warming of our climate, we hope that the information included in the Tracker will help people prepare better, in order to reduce some of the devastating effects floods and storms are having on our communities.
“In addition to the Tracker, we also recently launched an online Disaster Claims Hub, a one-stop resource for customers before and after a storm.
“The Disaster Claims Hub provides thorough information on how to prepare for a storm, and what to do afterwards if you need to make a claim. It also covers information such as what to do if your house becomes unsafe, access to temporary accommodation, emergency repairs and so on.”
The data: key insights from the IAG Wild Weather Tracker (NZ)
- We received 13,315 claims at an approximate cost of $110 million for the hailstorm that hit Timaru and nearby coastal areas in November 2019.
- The Lake Ohau village fire in October 2020 resulted in 106 claims, with costs of around $15 million.
- The West Coast flood in July 2021 resulted in 3,011 claims costing approximately $80 million. The majority of the damage affected Westport.
- AMI, State and NZI received 8,293 claims due to wild weather in the last six months*, up from 6,293 during the same time last year.
- We recorded 74 storms between 2017 – 2021, up 100% from the 37 storms recorded between 2012 – 2016.
- In 2021, the proportion of home claims across New Zealand linked to severe weather was 16% or 54,040 claims, approximately 40% above the average across the past 10 years.
- From September 2021 – February 2022, Canterbury was the hardest hit region, making up 21% of all weather claims. The Auckland and Waikato regions followed at 15% each, with Wellington at 11%.
- The Wild Weather Tracker shares New Zealand insurance claims statistics and other insights from State, AMI and NZI, and will be released six-monthly.
*1 September 2021 – 28 February 2022
Note: Numbers cited in this statement exclude earthquakes and volcanoes.
State, AMI and NZI Disaster Claims Hub: https://iagnz.custhelp.com/