Insured losses from 2013 German catastrophes near $9.6 billion

by Artemis on January 10, 2014

German insurers are set to pay out €7 billion, which is approximately $9.6 billion, as a result of the weather catastrophes which struck the region in 2013, which the Association of German Insurers (GDV) has termed an exceptional year.

“The accumulation of various weather extremes within a few months made ​​2013 an exceptional year,” commented Alexander Erdland, President of the General Association of German Insurers (GDV).

Insurers responded to more than 2 million claims in just a few months, which Erdland called a ‘gigantic task’, but one which insurers responded to well and the majority of claims are already settled.

€5.5 billion ($7.5 billion) of the claims paid relate to property insurance, with €1.8 billion from the June flooding, €3.1 billion from hailstorms from summer to early autumn, between €300m and €400m from European windstorm Christian in October and between €100m and €200m from European windstorm Xaver in December.

Another €1.5 billion (over $2 billion) is attributed to motor claims from the June floods, hailstorms and European windstorms.

The GDV said that 2013 was not an exception and that comparable years of losses have been seen in the past. The last comparable years were in 1990 and in 2002. However losses are expected to rise as frequency of catastrophic weather events increases, with storm and hail damage expected to increase by 50% to 60% by 2050.

Germany has suffered not far off one-quarter of the global insured natural disaster losses based on these figures and Swiss Re’s early estimate of the annual total for 2013. That is quite unusual but shows the importance of the reinsurance market to German insurers.

It’s no surprise that at least one collateralized reinsurance and ILS fund suffered some losses from the German events this year, according to our sources. The hail events in particular caused a small loss on one exposed fund which had participated in a major German insurers reinsurance program in 2013.

With ILS and collateralized reinsurance funds expected to grow their involvement in European markets, in fact renewal commentary said that this was noticed during the January reinsurance renewals, we should expect to see more losses trickling into the ILS market from natural catastrophe and weather events in Germany and other European nations in years to come.

Interestingly, these figures from the German insurance association appear at odds with early estimates of natural catastrophe insured losses from reinsurers Swiss Re and Munich Re. The figures from the GDV would suggest that both reinsurance firms early estimates of 2013 natural catastrophe losses, $31 billion globally according to Munich Re and $38 billion of global losses from Swiss Re, look a little on the light side.

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