Storm Xavier struck parts of northern Germany on October 5th with winds nearing hurricane strength in the capital city of Berlin and initial estimates suggesting that the insurance and reinsurance industry could face between EUR 150 million and EUR 200 million of losses from the storm.
“Storm XAVIER will weigh German insurers with around 150 – 200 million euros,” estimated Onnen Siems, CEO of actuarial firm Meyerthole Siems Kohlruss (MSK).
Storm Xavier is the second winter extra-tropical storm of the 2017 season to impact Germany, but was particularly strong for the time of year.
“Autumn storms that occur before mid-October have only occurred a few times in the past 50 years,” Siems explained.
Xavier moved in rapidly from the Lower Saxony coast towards Brandenburg in Germany and further on to Poland. Wind speeds of over 100 km/h were recorded, but the strongest winds only occurred across around a 100 km wide strip, which limits the extent of the damage considerably.
However, Berlin also fell within the path of storm Xavier in this strip, with damage reported including a crane falling which is assumed to cause a multi-million Euro insurance claim alone. A number of deaths were reported, largely from falling trees.
Summer storms have already cost the German insurance industry an estimated EUR 600 million in 2017, following on from EUR 940 million of storm damage in 2016.
Storm Xavier is an early winter season reminder that insurance and reinsurance industry storm losses in Germany can be substantial.
European windstorm Xavier also impacted the Netherlands as well, so the eventual market loss for re/insurers could be higher.
Catastrophe risk data aggregator PERILS AG has put storm Xavier under investigation and will report on the events market-wide insured loss if it is likely to surpass the firms event reporting threshold of EUR 200 million.