PERILS raises industry loss estimate for Cyclone Gabrielle to NZ $1.925bn

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Zurich-based catastrophe insurance data provider PERILS AG has provided a second estimate for Cyclone Gabrielle which brought extreme rainfall and strong winds to the North Island of New Zealand during the period of 11 to 17 February 2023, pegging the total to NZ $1.925 billion.

perils-ag-logoOn March 30, it initially estimated the inured market loss for Cyclone Gabrielle to be NZ $1.543 billion.

The industry loss estimate is based on claims data collected from affected insurance companies.

Cyclone Gabrielle arrived just weeks after devastating floods hit Auckland and surrounding areas on the North Island of New Zealand. In their second loss report, PERILS estimated the floods to have caused an industry loss of NZ $1.754 billion.

Moreover, Cyclone Gabrielle impacted a wide area across the North Island with extreme rainfall reaching up to 568mm in 48 hours, along with maximum wind gusts of up to 146 km/h.

The impact of the heavy rain was exacerbated by saturated soils from the previous North Island flood event, leading to many landslides damaging property and critical infrastructure.

Darryl Pidcock, Head of PERILS Asia-Pacific, commented: “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.”

PERILS notes that an updated estimate of the market loss from Cyclone Gabrielle will be made available on 17 August 2023, six months after the event end date.

Additionally, PERILS states that the loss information in the third report will be provided in the form of an industry loss footprint with losses broken down by postcode zones and property line of business.

Pidcock, added: “Our next industry loss report will be released in three months, which will enable more detailed analysis of both events at a local postcode resolution and by coverage type. We believe this will bring considerable value to the industry given the significance of the events.”

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