Canterbury quakes NZ's most costly insurance event, $38 billion in property claims - new report

The serious and widespread damage to Christchurch's built environment a decade ago has ushered in...
The serious and widespread damage to Christchurch's built environment a decade ago has ushered in dramatic changes to the cityscape. Photo: Martin Hunter
The Canterbury earthquakes were by far the most costly insurance events in New Zealand history.

The Reserve Bank has released a report which says property insurance claims in the disasters cost about $38 billion.

The paper shows a mix of sources have funded earthquake claims. Existing reinsurance has funded the largest proportion at 72 per cent.

Ten insurers required post-event funding, provided through a combination of after-the-event reinsurance and additional capital.

The report said there was greater assurance for funding of future disasters as the Reserve Bank required insurers to have "reinsurance and capital" to cover claims of a one-in-a-1000-year earthquake.

"The 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes are by far the most costly insurance event in New Zealand's history and remain one of the most significant globally."

The report found the experience provided lessons for dealing with future catastrophic events.

"While there are additional funding sources for catastrophic events besides reinsurance, these are generally constrained and not always effective.

"For large and unique catastrophic events it is difficult to accurately estimate expected claims costs and the uncertainty in those costs, and these difficulties can persist for several years."










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