Zurich-based catastrophe insurance data provider PERILS AG has issued a second forecast for Cyclone Gabrielle which brought heavy rain and strong winds to New Zealand’s North Island during the period 11 to 17 February 2023, putting the total at NZ $1.925 billion.
As of March 30, the market loss for Cyclone Gabrielle was first estimated at NZ$1.543 billion.
The industry loss estimate is based on claims data collected from affected insurance companies.
Cyclone Gabrielle came just weeks after devastating floods hit Auckland and surrounding areas on New Zealand’s North Island. In their second loss report, PERILS estimated that the floods caused industry losses of NZ$1.754 billion.
In addition, Cyclone Gabrielle affected a wide area of the North Island with heavy rainfall of 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 a previous flooding event in the North Island, which led to numerous landslides that damaged property and critical infrastructure.
Darryl Pidcock, Head of PERILS Asia-Pacific, commented: “We have observed an increase in industry losses of 25% since our first loss report. This is a significant increase and is mainly driven by an increase in the average size of the acquisition of residential and commercial property lines.
“While the damage from the previous floods in the North Island 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 so far experienced nearly NZD 3.7 billion in insured losses from the two events, which is the highest in recorded history for weather-related events in the region.
PERILS says the updated estimate of market losses from Hurricane Gabrielle will be available on 17 August 2023, six months after the end date of the event.
In addition, PERILS said loss information in the third report will be provided in the form of an industry loss footprint with losses broken down by postcode zone and line of business.
Pidcock, added: “Our next industry loss report will be released in three months, which will enable a more detailed analysis of both events at a local postcode resolution and type of coverage. We believe that will provide it’s a lot of value to the industry because of the importance of the events.”