February 1, 2017 / 5:06 AM / 2 years ago

New Zealand businesses claim $653 million from insurers after November earthquake

(Reuters) - New Zealand businesses have made insurance claims of more than NZ$900 million ($653.49 million) for losses from the earthquake that rocked the capital city of Wellington in November, the country’s insurance association said on Wednesday.

The figure, which excludes residential claims, includes more than 2500 commercial material damage and business interruption claims, the Insurance Council of New Zealand said in a statement. It does not include claims made where assets have been insured directly with offshore insurers.

New Zealand’s central bank has estimated that repairs in the aftermath of the Nov. 14 quake will cost up to NZ$8 billion, mainly in Wellington and the northern part of South Island.

Nearly two-thirds of the business claims reported to the insurance council came from Wellington, while one-quarter came from the South Island and the remainder from other nearby regions, the insurance council said.

The New Zealand government last week said it will require building owners to urgently repair hundreds of hazardous buildings because of the heightened earthquake risk following the November tremor.

The new rules affect about 300 buildings, mostly in Wellington.

($1 = 1.3772 New Zealand dollars)

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Eric Meijer

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