Hundreds of insurance claims have begun to flood in after the heavy rainstorm and flooding which hit northern parts of the North Island over the weekend.

IAG, which owns the brands NZI, State Insurance and AMI, said yesterday that it had already received more than 500 claims relating to the floods.

An IAG spokeswoman said that figure was likely to grow and it had yet to put a dollar figure on how much people were claiming.

Another insurer, Vero, said it had received 200 claims so far with an approximate cost of $700,000.


Jimmy Higgins, executive general manager claims at Vero, said claim numbers were likely to rise.

"This is likely to increase significantly as people begin to lodge claims for damage caused by the storms over the weekend." Higgins urged customers to lodge a claim as soon as possible.

"Our claims team will be able to advise the steps people should take to make their property safe." He said people should take photos of any damage to help resolve their claim more quickly.

AA Insurance says it handled almost 160 flood-related claims over the weekend, mainly from customers living in low-lying areas, and one customer's caravan lifted in the tornado, which damaged all its contents.

The most common types of damage were flooded houses, including much of their contents, as well as flooded car claims, said Amelia Macandrew, customer relations manager, AA Insurance.

"Most of our customers have stayed in their homes, and are focusing on the cleanup today, which means we won't know the extent of the damage or the cost until they're able to make a full assessment, but we expect the number of claims to increase further over the coming days," she said.

"We're keen to hear from customers who are unable to stay in their homes and need assistance, or who require urgent repairs to their homes to keep them watertight and warm. We also want to hear from those who have been able to assess the damage to their home, contents or car," said Macandrew.

The company is ready to help customers with their flood-related claims, and is urging those requiring emergency repairs or temporary accommodation to call as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, a New Lynn retail building has been closed while safety checks are carried out after the weekend's floods.

Tracy Mulholland, contract manager for the New Lynn Business Association, said the building at 3107 Great North Road had been closed while survey work was undertaken.

The businesses in the building include a Japanese restaurant called Happy Japanese Restaurant, a barbers shop and nightclub Club FiaFia.

Mulholland said yesterday that she had spoken to a number of other business owners who appeared to be fine.

New Lynn's main shopping centre was unharmed, and Chris Gudgeon, Kiwi Property chief executive, said his company's LynnMall shopping centre was not damaged.

"Thankfully we had no flooding at LynnMall. Flooding seemed to be mainly on the other side of Great North Road further north up by the creek," Gudgeon said.

However, the $850 million Commercial Bay development in central Auckland was re-named "Commercial Lake" by one observer, who sent the Herald a picture of a mini "lake" at the site, which is the city's largest office development.

A spokeswoman for the developer, Precinct Properties, said the water would not be an issue, and had only pooled at lower ground levels.

Also hit by the weather was the Kumeu Agricultural and Horticultural Show, which an organiser said had suffered a huge financial loss after a poor turnout over the weekend. Liz Westman, Kumeu show manager, said it decided to make entry free on Saturday because of the wet weather - for the first time ever in the show's 95-year history.

She did not know how many people had come through the gates on Saturday or Sunday, but said the show would be looking for sponsors to enable it to continue next year.

Of the 300 stall-holders the show normally attracted, only about 80 turned up.

- Additional reporting Anne Gibson