Ageas expects significant reinsurance recovery for floods in Belgium

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Belgium headquartered insurance group Ageas is the latest European carrier to reveal an expectation of significant reinsurance support to help it pay claims to customers from the recent severe floods that affected the region.

ageas-logoAgeas was always expected to be one of the insurance carriers that experienced a relatively significant impact from the flooding, particularly given its large market share in Belgium, one of the countries worst affected.

Analysts at investment bank Berenberg had highlighted Ageas as one of the insurers it expected to be exposed to European flood losses right after the event.

Given the information reported by the insurer today, that has certainly turned out to be the case.

Ageas said that it expects flood damages in Belgium alone could result in gross claims costs from its customers of as high as €400 million.

But the insurer believes its reinsurance partners will provide significant support, saying that after tax and reinsurance recoveries are accounted for, the net impact to its group result is expected to be only €55 million.

Which means that a reinsurance recovery in the region of €350 million could be anticipated, suggesting Ageas has a relatively low retention in place and ample excess-of-loss protection.

Ageas CEO Hans De Cuyper explained, “The underlying results over the first half of the year are stable, but the next quarter results will be impacted by the catastrophic floods in Belgium.

“We remain confident that we can maintain the net profit guidance from the beginning of the year, EUR 850mn to 950mn, reviewing the positive adjustment made in the wake of our very strong Q1 results.

“The recent floods in Belgium and other parts of Europe have devastated so many communities. We are committed to do everything we can to support our clients, some of whom have lost family or loved ones with their home destroyed or severely damaged. These recent events re-emphasise the importance of long term commitments to our environment and its impact on societies, an area where Ageas is committed to be at the forefront.”

Ageas expects that the combined ratio on its homeowners insurance book will suffer in the second-half of 2021 due to the impact of claims related to the flooding.

However, once again reinsurance relationships are going to prove vital in helping an exposed primary insurance carrier minimise the impact to its bottom-line and shareholders.

As a reminder, earlier today we reported that Aon said the industry loss in Germany could be up to US $6.5 billion, with another at least US $1.2 billion expected due to losses in the other countries affected by the floods.

Belgium was probably the second worst affected of these countries, so it’s no surprise to see Ageas experiencing a significant claims burden from the devastating flood event.

Last week we reported that Allianz expects around a €900 million gross flood loss, but to recover around €500 million of this from its excess-of-loss reinsurance.

Deutsche Rück said that its retrocession program will be triggered and protect its balance-sheet against some of the financial impacts of the recent severe flooding in Germany.

We also reported that, European insurer Generali also expects to recover from its reinsurance partners for the recent storm and flood losses in Europe.

In addition, insurer AXA said that it estimates that losses from July’s floods that hit Germany, Belgium, and other parts of Western and Central Europe, will be around EUR 400 million, which it reported before tax and net of expected reinsurance recoveries.

Hannover Re said it is anticipating a net loss of up to EUR 250 million from the recent severe flooding across Europe and in particular Germany.

While Swiss Re said it expects mid-triple digit millions of losses from the flooding and South African riots.

Finally, reinsurance giant Munich Re said it expects mid-three- digit million euro losses from the July flooding in Germany and across Central Europe.

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