27 Mar 2023

Insurers assessing areas at high risk of flooding

5:31 pm on 27 March 2023
A scene of flooding damage. A stationary car is covered with tufts of muddy grass leftover from high flood waters. It has a large log sitting on top. There is pink spray paint over its number plate, indicating it has been written off. Behind the car is a field of trampled, muddy long grass slicked back and flattened by floodwaters. In the middle of the field is a small white and green house. The windows and doors have been destroyed, and the walls are dirty with mud. There is pink spray paint on the walls, indicating it has been written off.

Destruction of homes and vehicles in the Esk Valley. Photo: Tom Kitchin

The insurance sector says it is busy pulling together information on areas at high risk of flooding, that which will be provided to the government's recovery taskforce this week.

IAG, Tower and Suncorp are among insurers providing their assessments of high risk areas ahead of any decisions on rebuilding.

Suncorp chief executive Jimmy Higgins met with the Cyclone Gabrielle subcommittee last week to discuss progress.

The insurer wanted to understand the broader recovery efforts, he said.

"We're currently assisting them with their assessment of high risk areas so there is a clear understanding of the scale of impact and what it could mean for rebuilding."

Last week, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the information from insurers will be matched with risk assessments local councils are carrying out, with next steps decided in April.

"We are acutely aware of people's need for certainty, so it is important we make the right decisions, not the fastest and easiest ones," Robertson said.

More than 40,000 claims have so far been received relating to Cyclone Gabrielle, worth around $890 million, of which around $70 million has been paid out.

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