Storm Ciara – Sabine industry loss estimated at EUR 1.6bn by PERILS

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The insurance and perhaps reinsurance industry loss from European windstorm Ciara, also known as Sabine and Elsa, has been estimated at almost EUR 1.6 billion (close to US $1.7bn) by PERILS AG.

storm-wind-wavesThe Zurich-based provider of catastrophe industry loss data, indices and services for the reinsurance industry said that the storm caused most of its losses in Germany and is the largest European windstorm industry loss since Friederike (David) in January 2018.

It’s important to note that PERILS estimate is only for the industry losses from wind/storm losses and does not include any flooding impacts.

European windstorm Ciara, as it was named in the UK, or windstorm Sabine in other parts of continental Europe, and Elsa in Norway, struck parts of Ireland and the UK on Sunday, February 9th, before moving on to impact parts of Europe up to the 11th.

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

Significant wind damage was seen, as well as widespread inland flooding was seen in the UK, while Germany took the brunt of the wind damage and is the source of the majority of the losses under PERILS estimate.

PERILS initial estimate for an industry loss of EUR 1.551 billion is based on claims data reported by insurance companies that were hit by the storm.

PERILS explained, “The storm was particularly noteworthy given the exceptionally wide area impacted by the damaging wind gusts which extended across the British Isles and Continental Europe. In addition, the duration of the storm was unusual with windstorm conditions persisting for over 48 hours in many countries. In total, it is estimated that approximately 250 million people were exposed to wind gusts in excess of 80 km/h at some point during the progression of the storm.”

Germany led the way in terms of insurance market impact, followed by some Benelux countries, France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark.

The Republic of Ireland, despite suffering very high winds, suffered comparably minor insurance losses, as was the case for Norway and Sweden, PERILS said.

PERILS also explained that while the industry loss is material from windstorm Ciara – Sabine, it is only of the level that is expected to be seen approximately once every three years, based on the last 40 years of data.

February was a particularly active month of the European windstorm peril, with over US $2 billion of losses expected for the insurance and reinsurance industry, as Aon explained recently.

On European windstorm Ciara or Sabine, AIR Worldwide estimated that it would result in an insurance or reinsurance industry loss of between EUR 1.1 billion and EUR 1.9 billion, the top-end of which is almost US $2.1 billion.

While fellow catastrophe risk modeller RMS said that the loss from the windstorm would be up to EUR 1.8 billion.

The storm and also flooding activity associated with European windstorms in this winter season is thought to have resulted in at least US $3 billion of industry losses, posing a slight threat to some reinsurance layers. This is especially true of some UK insurers when counting the countries flood damage.

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