20 Aug 2011

Big storm damage bill expected

6:05 am on 20 August 2011

The Insurance Council says it expects a substantial insurance bill from the massive storm that brought disruption to many parts of the country this week.

Snow closed airports and key roads, sealing off areas including Queenstown, while freight companies struggled to move supplies to snow-bound communities.

Insurance Council chief executive Chris Ryan says some damage was minor, such as car accidents caused by icy roads, while other damage, including buildings that collapsed under the weight of the snow, will mean bigger insurance claims.

He cannot yet quantify the cost but says it will run into millions of dollars.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley says freight companies had to cope with delays moving goods and in some cases had to use alternative routes which cost more.

KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn says the company faced extra costs as people worked around the clock to move freight and passengers affected by the storm.