The number of insurance claims for property damaged by methamphetamine, or P, is increasing, the Insurance Council says.
"Property losses from P labs are becoming more significant and insurers are becoming increasingly concerned about the extent of these losses," council spokesman Terry Jordan said.
He estimated methamphetamine damage cost the insurance industry $5 - $10 million over the past 12 months.
A property must be thoroughly cleaned, or in some cases demolished, after a "cook-up", he said.
"Remedial work to clean the properties range from a property cleanup by a specialist cleaning company for light contamination, through to the full replacement of wall and ceiling linings, drapes and carpets, where P lab activity has occurred on a regular basis.
"In the worst cases, houses that are totally contaminated may need to be demolished."
Jordan also said some properties had caught fire after lab explosions.
Insurances companies covered the losses due to P contamination, but the onus was on the property owner to properly vet tenants and carry out regular inspections, he said.
"P users derive money for their habit from burglary, car theft and other types of crime, which results in further losses that increase the cost of insurance to all New Zealanders."
Jordan said it was "very difficult" to say how much P-related claims had increased due the nature of insurance company records.
Thursday December 02, 2010 Source: NZPA