Revealed – industry loss estimate for Cyclone Gabrielle

Revealed – industry loss estimate for Cyclone Gabrielle


Initial industry loss estimates for Cyclone Gabrielle have been tallied at NZ$1.543 billion, according to insurance data provider PERILS. This initial estimate is based on the damage recorded within the period of Feb. 11-17 and covers the property line of the sector. An updated tally of the market loss will be made available on May 17, three months following the event.

As the researcher’s second New Zealand industry loss report within the span of two weeks, PERILS head of Asia Pacific Darryl Pidcock said that the Gabrielle loss estimate will contribute to a better understanding of weather risk and the ongoing insurability of atmospheric perils.

PERILS also initially reported on initial industry loss estimates for the NZ North Island floods, which amounted to NZ$1.65 billion lost for the sector.

A path of destruction

Arriving two weeks after the North Island floods, Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact was felt across most of the North Island, in particular affecting Hawke’s Bay and Auckland and its surrounding areas with extreme rainfall and strong winds.

A peak gust of 141 km/h was recorded at Cape Reinga, on North Island’s northernmost tip. Rainfall more than 200mm was widespread; Raparaparinki station in the Gisborne district received 568mm in 48 hours.

Pidcock said that Aotearoa has not seen these kinds of disastrous weather events in the past 50 years.

“This makes it all the more unusual that two billion-dollar weather events, first the North Island Floods and then Cyclone Gabrielle, should occur within weeks of each other. These catastrophes represent one of the most challenging periods for the insurance industry since the Canterbury earthquake sequence of 2010/11,” he said.

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