The cost of July's devastating Northland storm continues to rise, with insurers paying out $37 million to date.

That's on top of the $18m-plus cost of damage to district council public infrastructure assets caused by the massive storm on July 17-18 that dumped 220mm of rain on the region in a few hours - meaning the storm caused $55m of damage - and rising.

Northland was devastated by the storm, which led to widespread flooding and slips, with water entering dozens of homes and blocking regional roads. A slip still has State Highway 1 through Mangamuka Gorge, in the Far North, closed with repairs expected to take into next month.

Many people are still mopping up after the storm, with some stores in central Whangārei yet to reopen.

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Repairs to underslips on roads that sustained storm damage in Whangārei could take early into the new year as they require investigation by geotech engineers. Whangārei District Council has around 730 roading repair jobs from the storm.

WDC employees and contractors have been busy carrying out repair work on infrastructure as well as on walking tracks.

Parihaka Scenic Reserve, the AH Reed Kauri Park and the Coronation Reserve in Western Hills were among the worst hit tracks in the storm.

Preliminary figures released yesterday by the Insurance Council of New Zealand show the extent of damage the July Northland floods left behind, with $37m paid to date by insurers to support their customers' recovery.

To date the flood has resulted in more than 2500 house and contents claims, more than 360 commercial or business-related claims and a further 360 claims for damage to motor vehicles. EQC has received 306 land claims to date.

Tim Grafton, CEO of the Insurance Council, said the flood is another reminder of the damage unforeseen events can leave behind and the importance of having insurance in place to support your recovery.

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"The costs to recover from this event have already exceeded those of the February Southland floods that saw a state of emergency declared for Southland, Fiordland and Clutha,'' Grafton said.

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"With severe weather predicated to become more frequent due to climate change, it is critical that we learn from these events and use them to inform ways to mitigate the risks they present so we can improve the resilience of our communities.''

He said for the first time private insurers were able to manage some claims for land damage on behalf of EQC. This meant that customers who suffered damage to their residential home, and had silt or debris covering their land, were able to lodge and have their claim managed by their private insurer.

Moerewa, above, was one of the hardest hit communities in the July 17-18 storm. Insurance companies have so far paid out $37 million for damage to home and business from the deluge.
Moerewa, above, was one of the hardest hit communities in the July 17-18 storm. Insurance companies have so far paid out $37 million for damage to home and business from the deluge.

"This helped to ensure the claims process was easy and efficient. Many customers were able to have their claim resolved through their insurer as a single point of contact, enabling them to get back on their feet as quickly as possible," Grafton said.

EQC's chief readiness officer Josh Lindsay said the partnership had proven to be successful.

"Bringing EQC and private insurers together provided a streamlined customer service experience for the people of Northland. We will continue to work closely to build on this for future events."

■ EQC covers storm and flood damage to residential land within eight meters of a residence, with home and contents damage covered by private insurance according to the terms of an individual's policy.

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