This week's Antarctic blast is expected to trigger thousands of insurance claims, testing an industry already stretched by the Christchurch earthquakes, the Insurance Council says.

There was likely to be a huge increase in insurance claims as people return to normality and assess damage to homes, businesses and property, said council chief executive Chris Ryan.

Claims for collapsed structures, broken water pipes, vehicle accidents and businesses closures were expected and insurers were also reporting significant travel insurance claims from stranded passengers in the South Island whose air travel plans were disrupted.

Insurance loss adjusters were expected to be out in force assessing the extent of the damage caused by the week-long unprecedented polar blast.

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"This weather event will place some pressure on insurers already dealing with the Christchurch earthquake but as insurers have proven time and again, legitimate claims will be settled as quickly as possible," Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said people directly affected could help loss adjustors with their claims by keeping a record of the damage to their property.

He encouraged people to photograph damage where possible and list items that are damaged or destroyed. Securing property to make it water-tight would also minimize potential water damage in the event of more rain and assist in the insurance claims process.

The council has said it expected to pay at least $10 billion toward insurance claims following destructive September and February earthquakes.

- NZPA