20 Jan 2009

Year's fierce weather cost insurers $86m

4:55 pm on 20 January 2009

Insurance companies have put the cost of five storms last year at $86 million.

The Insurance Council expects premiums to rise this year.

Two big storms in July accounted for much of the payouts.

The Insurance Council says payments to victims of flooding and high winds throughout the North Island on 26 July and 27 July totalled $26 million.

Three days later, another storm in the North Island and lower South Island cost insurers $42 million.

A record number of 23,755 claims were filed in July 2008.

Insurance Council spokesperson John Lucas says insurers are prepared for more storm events as a result of climate change, and many premiums will rise in this year by between 5% and 10%.

Mr Lucas says insurers are also worried about a 50% increase in the number of house fires last year.