Insurance claims for Cyclone Cook could run into the tens of millions of dollars, the Insurance Council says.
The cyclone was predicted to be the worst storm to hit the country in 49 years.
Many businesses and other organisations closed early on Friday to send people home, while there was disruption to flights and other services including NZ Post’s mail delivery.
Insurance Council of New Zealand spokeswoman Sarah Knox said it was difficult to predict how costly the cyclone would be, but insured costs were expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
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By comparison, the council released data on Friday which showed the cost of the Port Hills wild fires in Christchurch during February was about $18 million.
Suncorp New Zealand executive general manager of claims Jimmy Higgins said it was impossible to predict what the cost to business would be.
He said it would be mostly dependant on the path the storm took.
“We’re keeping a close eye on Cyclone Cook and the trajectory of the storm.
“We’re in touch with our brokers and advisers and urge our customers who are affected by the storm to make a claim as soon as possible.”
Higgins said Suncorp had received more than 1000 claims for last week’s ex-Cyclone Debbie.
These claims had an estimated cost of $8m.
” Of that 1000, we’ve received 64 commercial property claims and four business interruption claims, at an estimated cost of over $500,000.
“These numbers are likely to increase.”
AA Insurance said the two cyclones in two weeks had caused a big surge in insurance claims.
Head of claims Simon Hobbs said it had received nearly 400 claims relating to last week, and already 30 for Cyclone Cook.
“We expect this to rise rapidly as the worst of the heavy rain and winds are still to arrive.”
Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope said the storm conditions could have an impact on businesses and workplaces, but businesses should ensure people’s safety was the first priority.
“Businesses will want to check their business continuity insurance,” he said.