THE June weather bomb that caused extensive flooding in Wanganui and other parts of the lower North Island and the South Island's West Coast in June, cost insurers more than $50 million.

Tim Grafton, Insurance Council chief executive, said provisional figures show the lower North Island damage totalled $41.5 million and the West Coast damage a further $8.4 million. Mr Grafton said that so far weather events across the country this year had cost insurers $113 million.

The heavy rains and consequent flooding on June 20 and 21, generated more than 1700 claims from property owners in Wanganui, South Taranaki, Rangitikei, Horowhenua and Wairarapa.

Flooding in Wanganui and the lower North Island cost insurers more than $25 million for domestic claims, with more than 600 commercial and business interruption claims costing another $14 million. The remainder of claims was largely for motor vehicles at close to $1 million.

Advertisement

Several hundred people were evacuated from Wanganui East homes when floodwaters breached Whanganui River stopbanks. Some homes remain uninhabited with repair work still to be carried out.

Mr Grafton said his council had produced a 15-point plan to protect New Zealand from natural hazards, as NZ is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impact of natural disasters for an economy of its size.

He said recent Insurance Council research underlined the need to take these risks seriously with 64 per cent of New Zealanders agreeing central and local government need to actively plan and increase funding for initiatives to reduce and prevent damage from natural hazards before they occur. He said 71 per cent of Kiwis do not think NZ is prepared for natural disasters.