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Euro windstorm Ciara / Sabine industry loss dropped 3% to EUR 1.571bn


The insurance and reinsurance industry loss from February 2020’s European windstorm Ciara, also known as Sabine and Elsa, is now estimated to be a little lower, at around EUR 1.571 billion, a decrease of roughly 3% on PERILS last report on the storm.

storm-wind-wavesDemonstrating the challenges in estimating insurance and reinsurance market-wide catastrophe losses, back in March 2020 PERILS AG had first estimated the impacts from European windstorm Ciara, as it was named in the UK, or windstorm Sabine in other parts of continental Europe, and Elsa in Norway, at around EUR 1.551 billion.

PERILS was then unable to resurvey insurance and reinsurance market participants for its scheduled update in May due to the coronavirus outbreak, so came back with an updated EUR 1.611 billion industry loss estimate in August, a 4% increase on the first.

Now, the estimate has been reduced by roughly 3%, with the final industry loss estimate for windstorm Ciara / Sabine pegged at EUR 1.571 billion (US $1.91bn).

This storm was the largest European windstorm loss event for some time, with widespread impacts across multiple countries.

Storm Ciara / Sabine first struck parts of Ireland and the UK on Sunday, February 9th 2020, before moving on to impact parts of Europe up to the 11th.

The storm affected a wide area across France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway (where it was named storm Elsa), and other European countries.

However, from an insured property standpoint, the windstorm caused most of its losses in Germany and quickly became the largest European windstorm industry loss since Friederike (David) in January 2018.

Most of the insurance market claims reported came from Germany, followed by the Benelux countries, France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark. There was some impact to reinsurance layers for a number of carriers, we understand.

Interestingly, impacts from this windstorm were also seen as widely as in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Northern Italy, but these locations were not included in the PERILS loss survey, meaning the actual industry-wide loss is likely somewhat higher.

The windstorm caused more than 1 million insurance claims across Europe, PERILS explained this morning, saying that for this new update some countries losses increased slightly, while other regions experienced a decline due to releases of loss reserves.

Dalida Bachmann, PERILS’ Head of Client Relationships, commented on the storm, “Windstorm Sabine represents the largest international cat industry loss of 2020. Despite this, the final loss estimate of EUR 1,571m is by no means an extraordinary sum for a European windstorm event. We estimate that there have been 13 European windstorms since 1979 which would have exceeded the Sabine loss figure had they occurred today. These events include 87J, Daria, Herta, Vivian, Wiebke, Anatol, Lothar, Martin, Jeanett, Kyrill, Klaus, Xynthia and Friederike. On this basis, we estimate that the Europe-wide market loss level seen with Sabine would be reached or exceeded on average once every three years.”

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