Catastrophe risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide has estimated that the total insurance and reinsurance industry loss from recent European windstorm Burglind, also known as Eleanor, could be as high as $1.92 billion (EUR 1.6 billion).
The estimate is significantly higher than the very early estimate of EUR 500 million we covered in the days following the storm and higher than other estimates from the likes of broker Aon Benfield, which said the storm could cost more than $600 million.
AIR Worldwide estimates the loss from Burglind / Eleanor will fall somewhere in a range from EUR 1.1 billion and EUR 1.6 billion, which equates to $1.33 billion to $1.92 billion.
If the final tally is towards the upper end of that range, the insurance and reinsurance industry loss from windstorm Burglind / Eleanor will be the largest European wind loss to hit the sector since windstorm Kyrill in 2007 and Klaus in 2009.
At this level of loss there would be expected to be some impact to reinsurance carriers, perhaps also to collateralized writers of reinsurance, although it is likely to remain largely a loss for primary insurers and large commercial carriers, due to the wide dispersion of damage across the continent of Europe.
AIR said that the majority of losses are expected in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, with a lower level of loss expected to be seen in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, and Sweden
Burglind / Eleanor was a wide-reaching windstorm, that struck on January 3rd 2018, hitting Ireland and the United Kingdom first with 100 mile per hour winds and causing flooding and wind damage along its path. The storm then struck northern Europe, impacting Germany, France and the Benelux countries, as well as further afield, causing further damage with wind gusts still recorded at 90 miles per hour.
AIR Worldwide explained the damage seen:
Structural damage due to strong winds was reported in Ireland, the UK, France, and Germany, where roofs were damaged or blown off, scaffolding was stripped from buildings, and signage was destroyed. Trees were blown down across continental Europe and the UK, and transportation disruption was rampant: a train car was blown off the tracks in Switzerland; train and ferry services were suspended in multiple countries; and hundreds of flights were canceled at Europe’s busiest airports, including Charles de Gaulle in France, Schiphol in Amsterdam, Frankfurt International in Germany, and Zurich and Basel in Switzerland. Power outages were widespread across the impacted countries.
In addition to the widespread damage caused by wind, extensive flooding inundated streets and structures across Europe and in the UK, mainly in Ireland, where the River Shannon overflowed its banks in Limerick, and in England, where a seawall collapsed in Cornwall. In Germany, river levels in the Rhine area rose over the weekend, and overflow was observed in Bonn, Cologne, and Dusseldorf, and some street flooding was reported.
AIR’s estimate of insurance and reinsurance property market losses covers wind damage only to onshore residential, commercial, and industrial properties; agricultural properties (and their contents); automobiles; and forestry in Finland, Norway, and Sweden.
The modelled estimate only includes insured physical damage from wind to property (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and auto), both structures and their contents, as well as losses to insured forestry in Finland, Norway, and Sweden.
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