Past trends in weather-related insurance in New Zealand
Public insurance and climate change (Part one)
Climate change appears to be increasing the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events, negatively affecting communities as well as posing long-term sustainability challenges to insurance (risk transfer) mechanisms.
New Zealand’s public natural hazard insurer, the Earthquake Commission (EQC), covers homeowners for damage to land (and in some cases to dwellings and contents) caused by landslip, storm or flood. We comprehensively explore the EQC claims data to investigate these weather-related claims from 2000-2017.
We find no clear upward trend yet emerging in the number of claims or their value. We find that the northern regions of both islands are the source of most claims, that only a handful of weather events caused a large proportion of EQC’s weather-related pay-outs, that the average property lodging a weather-related claim is located twice as close to the coast as the national average, and that properties with claims usually are cited on much steeper land than the typical property in New Zealand.
We also explore their relation between claims and socio-economic characteristics, finding that higher income neighbourhoods appear to be those most benefiting from the EQC coverage for weather events.