Insured losses from storm BERND top €1bn in Germany

The devastating flooding in Germany caused by the low-pressure weather system known as BERND on 13-18 July, triggered more than €1bn in losses and is a three- to five-year recurring event, according to Cologne-based actuarial consultancy Meyerthole Siems Kohlruss (MSK).

German insurers paid out more than €1.5bn for flooding in the summer of 2002 and 2013, for winter storm KYRILL (January 2007) and the hailstorms in July 2013 and June 2021. MSK managing director Onnen Siems said: “That places the recurrence of a loss event like BERND between three and five years.”

Most of the losses stem from natural hazard cover, with motor and marine insurance also being impacted. Moreover, Mr Siems pointed out that insurers’ liability for natural catastrophe losses is determined by the smallprint, as there are different types of insurance products for those hazards.

As a result, there are distinctions between, for example, heavy rain and flooding, leading to exclusions for certain types of damage. “The claims burden for insurers therefore lies well below 40% of the theoretically insurable loss,” said Mr Siems.

MSK also reported that, although this is a three- to five-year event in terms of insured natural catastrophe losses, the volume of rainfall itself was a lot more unusual, with a return period of more than 100 years.

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