20 Jun 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle: Rural insurer pays out more than $120 million in claims so far

2:18 pm on 20 June 2023
In Tairāwhiti, farmers near Tolaga Bay saw forestry slash and land damage from winds and heavy rain as a result of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Damage seen in Tairāwhiti after Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo: Supplied / Bridget Parker

Rural insurer FMG has paid out more than $120 million in claims relating to Cyclone Gabrielle.

The insurer has settled 43 percent of the 10,500 claims relating to Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods combined. Claims cover everything from damage to homes and farm buildings, irrigation, agricultural vehicles and animal and crop losses.

It still has nearly 6000 claims from the two events to resolve.

Chief client officer Glenn Croasdale said progress was being made on cyclone claims now that the government has categorised properties by future risk.

"People need certainty, and whether that's the outcome they want or not, at least they are able to know how to move on. But I know there's still more hurdles to cross there," he said.

"They can now work with the council, the government and then also their insurance, and that's helping us to now be able to progress some of these claims that otherwise would would be sitting in limbo."

Councils, like Auckland, were starting to engage with home owners of category two or three properties, which would accelerate the insurance process, Croasdale said

"We continue to keep in touch with our clients to ensure that they know where things are at and what's in our control or outside of our control.

"There's the opportunity for them to engage with their council and I know that councils are now starting to engage directly."

Croasdale said the scale of the damage was unprecedented, with a long road ahead if managed retreat was to be considered.

FMG has had more claims from Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland Anniversary floods than the Kaikōura and Canterbury earthquakes combined, he said.

FMG estimated the total cost of claims for 2023 events would be $273m.

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