More than 3500 claims worth more than $43.8 million were lodged after the recent Canterbury floods, according to provisional figures from the Insurance Council.
The 3538 claims from Canterbury insurance customers included 2327 house and contents claims, 288 claims for motor, 842 commercial and business-related claims, and 77 crop and other claims, including for lost livestock.
Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said the figures reflected how much damage the May 29 to June 1 floods caused.
"We’ve said on many occasions that we can expect to see more frequent and disruptive weather events as the effects of climate change increase, and sadly we are starting to see that pattern emerge,” he said.
“We only have to cast our minds back to the weekend to the second significant weather event that has left devastating flood and damage behind in Westport and through the Buller District.
"It has never been more important to look at how we manage this, and what steps we need to take to control, adapt, avoid and accept the risks they present."
The Government has allocated $4 million to help people in Canterbury affected by the floods.
Meanwhile, experts are warning extreme flooding could become the “new norm” for New Zealand because of climate change.
Associate Professor Asaad Shamseldin, from the University of Auckland's Civil and Environmental Engineering department, told Breakfast yesterday people had become more accepting of extreme weather being attributed to climate change, rather than just acts of God.
He said people needed to be prepared for such weather events, due to the damage it can cause to homes and infrastructure.