Extreme weather, climate change & the EQC
Earthquakes might not yet be predictable, but increasingly, climate change is. Because of climate change, extreme weather events in New Zealand may be getting worse and happening more often. What does this mean for our state-owned provider of natural hazard insurance – the Earthquake Commission (EQC) – and for the communities and regions directly affected by extreme weather?
- Project Duration: May 2017 ‐ March 2019
- Project Budget: $154,000
Although the EQC mainly helps households suffering earthquake damage, homeowners impacted by extreme weather like storms, floods or landslips can also make EQC claims for some damages. (For floods and storms, for example, the EQC will only cover the cleanup of debris and mud from the land below a house; it won’t cover damage to the house or its contents.) More frequent and more intense weather can therefore affect the EQC’s long-term sustainability.
Over the last 20 years, the EQC has paid out over $240 million, on more than 17,000 claims, to households affected by non-earthquake disasters. Our project will study these claims, along with data from Statistics NZ, GNS and NIWA, to better understand how the EQC has covered households over time and across regions after extreme weather events; whether insurance pay-outs have supported households and communities to recover economically; and what the EQC’s financial liabilities might be into the future, given climate change projections about extreme weather.
In doing so, we hope to enable local economies and the government to better understand and prepare for the financial challenges of climate change.
The EQC and the 2017 Edgecumbe flood:
“The Earthquake Commission (EQC) will lead the clean-up of flood-damaged properties in Edgecumbe, say Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Gerry Brownlee and Lead Minister for Edgecumbe Anne Tolley. ‘I’ve authorised EQC to clean-up all affected properties in the township, including for those homeowners who do not have insurance,’ Mr Brownlee says. ‘Having the government pick up the tab for cleaning up Edgecumbe means work can get underway while cost-sharing arrangements are finalised with the Whakatāne District Council.” National Party Press Release, May 9, 2017
The EQC in the news:
David A. Fleming, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, email@example.com
Ilan Noy, Victoria University of Wellington, firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Impacts & Implications projects
- Snow, ice and glaciers in our changing climate
- Climate impacts on the national water cycle
- Climate change & its effect on our agricultural land
- Making robust decisions about New Zealand's water
- Tools for decision makers
- Extreme weather, climate change & the EQC
- Climate Change: The Cascade Effect
- National flood risks & climate change
Please have a look at a complete list of Deep South Challenge projects.
Latest news and updates
The recent Edgecumbe floods saw raw sewage floating through the streets, making the clean-up extremely challenging. Over 300 homes in the district were damaged and six months later, 240 houses are still unliveable. Flood-proofing the town itself remains a distant goal.
The Deep South Challenge announces new research into who should bear the cost of our changing climate, and when.
All over New Zealand, from Haumoana to Westport, from Edgecumbe to the Kāpiti Coast, from Dunedin to Wellington City, homeowners and businesses are starting to feel the financial effects of climate change.
Susan Livengood is the Partnerships Director of the Deep South Challenge, and works within the Engagement programme – which tries to connect what’s happening in every programme of the challenge with both the broader public and with targeted individuals and organisations throughout New Zealand’s public and private sectors.