Natural Catastrophes 2013

Insurers paid 7 billion euro for floods, storms and hail

According to current estimates, insurers paid nearly 7 billion euro to their customers in 2013 for the consequences of natural catastrophes. “The burst of extreme weather events within a few months turned 2013 into an extraordinary year”, Alexander Erdland, President of the German Insurance Association (GDV), said during the presentation of the figures today in Berlin.

It is rare that claims of such a scale arise within such a short period of time (6 months). “To arrange two million claims within a few months was a gigantic task. We insurers resolved them in a reliable fashion”, Erdland emphasised.

The total of 7 billion euro breaks downs as follows:

property insurance: approx. 5.5 billion euro, thereof:

– June flooding: approx. 1,8 billion euro
– hail storms from summer to early autumn: approx. 3.1 billion euro
– Hurricane Christian at the end of October: 300 to 400 million euro
– Hurricane Xaver at the start of December: 100 to 200 million euro

motor insurance for June flooding, hailstorms and hurricanes: approx. 1.5 billion euro

Yet 2013 as a year of natural catastrophes was not exceptional. Insurers have had comparable years in the past and will also experience them in the future. 1990 and 2002 were the most recent years with claims of a comparable scale. The storms Wiebke and Vivian wreaked havoc in the winter of 1990. In 2002, in addition to flooding on the Elbe River, “Jeanett” and other ferocious storms left heavy damage in their wake.

Insurer climate study: floods and storms to be more extreme in the future
Such momentous years can be expected in the future as well: A joint study conducted by insurers and leading climate researchers forecasts an increase in extreme weather. According to the study, flooding claims could double by the end of this century. Storm claims could rise by more than 50 per cent before 2100 and hail claims by 60 per cent before 2050. “Crucial for our customers is that the claims remain generally insurable”, Erdland said.

Awareness and prevention more critical than ever
As events in 2013 impressively showed, preventive action and insurance coverage are part and parcel of good foresight. But this requires raising awareness among the general population of the risks associated with natural catastrophes. For people to take the right protective action, they need to be aware of the risks. “We need a nationwide information campaign and a national natural forces portal, where people can then inform themselves about their individual risks”, Erdland proposed. The insurance industry expressly offers the federal government its collaboration in this regard. Many more people could be profiting from the capacities of insurers.

More: Contact:
>> Climate Change Challenge: Answers and Demands of German Insurers
>> Key Positions: Energy Transition and Climate Protection
Kathrin Jarosch
Phone: (+49) 30/ 2020 – 5180
Mail: k.jarosch@gdv.de