Zurich-based catastrophe insurance data provider PERILS AG has released its third insured loss estimate for Cyclone Gabrielle, which impacted the North Island of New Zealand in February, pegging the total at NZ $2.018 billion.
According to PERILS, the figure is composed of personal lines property losses, which represent 54%, and commercial lines property losses, which represent 46% of the total industry loss.
PERILS explained that with a very low central pressure and an extensive width, Cyclone Gabrielle affected almost all of New Zealand’s North Island.
The firm continued, “Its impact was heightened by torrential rains falling on the ground still saturated from the North Island Flood event which occurred between 27 January and 02 February.
“Strong winds, storm surge and high tides further amplified the catastrophe, which in addition to wind damage saw severe flooding, coastal inundation and many landslides damaging property and critical infrastructure. The event caused 11 fatalities.”
Cyclone Gabrielle happened just weeks after the North Island Floods, which PERILS estimated in its third loss report to have caused an industry loss of NZ $1.995 billion.
Together with Cyclone Gabrielle, this brings the total insured loss amount from the two events to NZ $4.013 billion, as per PERILS.
Darryl Pidcock, Head of PERILS Asia-Pacific, commented, “According to the Insurance Council of New Zealand, the largest industry loss on record from a weather event in New Zealand prior to 2023 was NZD 171 million.
“The total loss from Cyclone Gabrielle and the North Island Floods, currently estimated at NZD 4,013 million, therefore highlights the extraordinary scale of the two events occurring so close to each other.”
He continued, “The last six months have been very challenging for policyholders and insurers given two such large events impacting the North Island.
“We hope the availability of our detailed loss and exposure data can support the industry’s efforts to better understand atmospherical risks as it works closely with policyholders, communities, and government in the recovery of the affected areas.”
The catastrophe insurance data provider noted that an updated estimate of the market loss from Cyclone Gabrielle will be made available on 17 February 2024, twelve months after the event’s end date.
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