A Hawke's Bay man says he fears for the financial vulnerability of elderly Napier residents after his 93-year-old mother's insurance jumped 43 per cent in a year.
Robbie McKee from Otane said he was "shocked" when he saw State Insurance had this month increased his 93-year-old mother's annual comprehensive contents insurance bill from $536 to $765.
His mother, Joan McKee, lives in a gated retirement village in Greenmeadows that was not affected by the November floods in Napier, but Robbie said it seemed to have been taken into account regardless.
"I contacted them and they [State] said it had increased because Hawke's Bay is a flood zone and an earthquake zone," he said.
"Insurance companies put things up all the time, which is okay for the majority of people who are can question it, but pensioners won't realise that they're paying for much more coverage than they require."
A spokesperson for State's parent company IAG said it regularly reviewed its pricing to ensure customers were paying a fair amount for insurance.
"A number of factors determine how we price our premiums, and these include location, past claims, cost and risk," the spokesperson said.
"Generally, a home in a location that is a high-risk area for earthquakes or floods will cost more to insure than a like-for-like home in a lower-risk location."
The 66-year-old said his mother has been with State for 45 years and had never claimed on her contents insurance and her home in Greenmeadows was not affected by the Napier flood in November.
He said he is concerned with how elderly will cope with increases.
"All of a sudden we've got elderly people whose insurance and rates more than gobble up their pensions - it's hard for them to communicate with these insurance companies.
"We all know these price increases are coming, and we haven't even broached the subject of food or petrol, doctors etc.
"Instances like this reinforce how faceless some businesses have become with the elderly.
"Having contents insurance is sensible, but...she's a pensioner. Apart from family heirlooms; she hasn't got much, just a TV and no car."
He said insurance companies were starting to make it "totally unaffordable" for pensioners to get coverage.
Kim Matthews, a Hawke's Bay commercial insurance broker at Rothbury, said they're currently seeing increases in house and contents insurance which vary depending on "a whole lot of factors".
"The floods certainly didn't help us and there has been a significant amount paid out by insurance companies," she said. "We have always been high risk from an earthquake perspective."
But there are also other factors - costs are high with shortages of materials and tradespeople - "and there also seems to be a big increase in the number of 1-100 year [weather] events.
"Premiums don't necessarily increase because of natural disasters, however, they are one trigger for increases and following the floods, the insurance companies are all taking different stances on how they react."