Insurers have spent more than $226 million this year helping customers recover from extreme weather events.

The severe weather stats, provided by the Insurance Council of NZ, place 2018 as the second most expensive year for severe weather events since 1969.

The 2018 saw 33,064 claims costing $226.4 million, only just short of 2017's record - a year in which severe weather events cost insurers $243 million.

From this year's weather events, an April storm that caused severe weather nationwide - including tornadoes - cost the country the most.

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The April 10-11 storm cost insurers $74.4 million, making it the fourth biggest storm this century.

The storm cut power to thousands of Auckland homes as hurricane-force winds ripped through the city at up to 140km/h.

It knocked out power to over 200,000 Auckland properties, with homes affected for 11 days following the storm.

Flights were grounded at Auckland Airport, trees toppled onto homes and blocked roads, and Fire and Emergency personnel were overwhelmed by callouts.

New Zealand's second costliest storm this year came in the form of Cyclone Fehi on February 1, which cost the country $45.9m.

State Highway 6, just north of Punakaiki on the West Coast of South Island, showing damage to the road caused by Cyclone Fehi early February 2018. Photo / Andrew Stone
State Highway 6, just north of Punakaiki on the West Coast of South Island, showing damage to the road caused by Cyclone Fehi early February 2018. Photo / Andrew Stone

Fehi left a trail of destruction as it passed over New Zealand, displacing people, flooding homes, destroying a bridge and church, shredding roads and causing transport chaos as flights, ferries and trains were cancelled, and a swag of roads closed.

As well as Buller, Dunedin — were sewage-contaminated stormwater flowed through streets — declared a state of emergency.

Due to the road closures, more than 100 motorists were stranded overnight in their cars near Fox Glacier, and 700 tourists were stranded in Haast, blocked by a huge slip.

Heavy rain and storm surges also caused damage in Nelson, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

Less than three weeks later, Cyclone Gita caused $35.6m worth of damage across the country.

Cyclone Gita brought 15m waves, more than 300mm of rain, and wind gusts above 130km/h.

Rubbish lays along Titahi Bay beach after being hit by high seas from Gita's remnants. Photo / Marty Melville
Rubbish lays along Titahi Bay beach after being hit by high seas from Gita's remnants. Photo / Marty Melville

Christchurch, Buller District, Grey District, Selwyn, Westland, Tasman and Taranaki declared a state of emergency as the powerful storm caused flooding, destroying buildings and closing roads.

From the $226 million spent this year on storm damage, house and contents claims made up the biggest number and dollar value with 24,251 claims and $128.5m, while there were 6071 commercial claims for $81.2m.

Motor claims cost $10.6m, while marine claims added up to $2.4m.

ICNZ chief executive Tim Grafton said to have two years in a row in the three most expensive years on record, is an indicator of the increasing frequency and intensity of storms in New Zealand.

"This is in large part to the impacts of climate change," he said.

Grafton said it's critical New Zealand adapts to the changing climate.

"It's impacting on our communities and it's impacting on our economy. These impacts can only increase the longer we fail to adapt."

A recent report from the Treasury said that climate change-induced droughts alone have cost New Zealand $720 million in economic losses in the 10 years to 2017.

"It states that the total economic impact of climate change, including flooding and severe weather, will be much greater," Grafton said.

"The sooner we adapt to our changing climate, the less adaptation will cost us and the less we will be impacted by the increasing frequency and severity of storms."