Insurers braced for $2 billion windstorm hit

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The windstorms which ravaged Europe last month are expected to cost the continent’s insurers upwards of $2 billion.

Broking group Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, launched the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during January 2018.

The report revealed that several Atlantic storm systems impacted Western and Central Europe during the month, the most significant of which was Windstorm Friederike, which killed at least 13 people after hurricane-force wind gusts and heavy rainfall affected Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom.

The German Insurance Association (GDV) reported that Friederike was the costliest windstorm in the country since Windstorm Kyrill in 2007, with preliminary payouts listed at approximately EUR1 billion ($1.24 billion).

Additional payouts exceeding EUR100 million (USD125 million) were reported by other regional insurance groups. Overall economic losses were even higher.

Windstorms Eleanor and Carmen also impacted Western and Central Europe, killing at least seven people and causing notable damage in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, and Switzerland. Preliminary insured losses were listed in the hundreds of millions (EUR).

Michal Lörinc, an analyst with Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight team, said: “A meteorologically active January resulted in elevated windstorm losses in Europe. When looking at the combined effect of storms Friederike, Eleanor and Carmen, windstorm-related economic and insured losses in Europe are already comparable to the annual totals recorded throughout 2017. The busy stretch of storms allowed Impact Forecasting to deploy its European windstorm model and help clients better capture the expected loss impact from each event in real-time.”