Reinsurance News

ARPC cyclone cover triggered by Cyclone Gabrielle in New Zealand

15th February 2023 - Author: Kane Wells

The Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation’s cyclone cover has been triggered by Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, which recently struck New Zealand in what the country’s prime minister described as “the biggest weather event to hit the country in the past century.”

ARPCAfter being notified by the Bureau of Meteorology, ARPC declared Cyclone Gabrielle as a cyclone event under the Terrorism and Cyclone Insurance Act 2003.

The cyclone event commenced on Thursday 9 February at 11:00 am (AEST) and ended on 14 February at 3:00 AM (AEST).

Throughout that time, Cyclone Gabrielle caused significant flooding and landslides across the North Island of New Zealand.

As of the latest reports, the cyclone has since moved away from the island, though 10,500 people have been displaced, with at least 4 people dead, and some still missing.

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While the rain has ceased in most parts of the country, many remote towns and areas remain cut off by high floodwaters and a lack of power.

When the cyclone first struck, 140,000 people across the island were without power, although electricity has been restored to 80,000 homes.

Christopher Wallace, Chief Executive, delegate of ARPC, acting under subsection 8F(1) of the Terrorism and Cyclone Insurance Act 2003, stated that the claims period for the cyclone event began at the moment the cyclone commenced, and ended on 14 February.

The ARPC added that this is the first cyclone event where it has active insurer customers and that it looks forward to working with them to fulfil its obligations under the Act.

New Zealand’s prime minister Chris Hipkins named Gabrielle as the biggest weather event to hit the country in the past century.

The cyclone is estimated to affect at least a third of the country’s population, most extensively in coastal communities on the far north and east coast of the North Island – with areas like Hawke’s Bay, Coromandel and Northland among the worst hit.

Cyclone Gabrielle struck just two weeks after record downpours and flooding in the same region. At least 4 people died in those floods, with around 350 needing replacement accommodation.

Re/insurers with policies in this part of the world suggested that the floods could trigger their reinsurance cover, with Suncorp and Tower Limited both recently releasing statements to that effect.

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