Denmark’s Natural Damage Council likely to absorb Storm Babet costs

Denmark’s unique state-backed flood protection scheme is likely to alleviate the pressure on commercial claims payments in relation to Storm Babet, which has caused extensive damage across the country.

Across Denmark, more than 1,000 insurance claims and damage reports have so far been filed in relation to damage caused by Storm Babet.

However, most claims related to storm surge are handled by the state-backed Natural Damage Council (Naturskaderådet) rather than commercial insurers.

Insurers are required to pay a quarterly levy to the Council.

As the storm made landfall in Scandinavia, it triggered a sharp rise in water levels in towns in southern Denmark, flooding the first floor of homes which were left without power for several hours.

Water levels in several Danish towns exceeded their normal height by more than two metres (seven feet), levels normally only reached once every hundred years, according to Denmark’s DMI weather service.

Fishing boats were left stranded or about to sink in the port town of Rodvig, according to photos from Danish media.

The Natural Damage Council has approximately DKK 1.1 billion to cover claims, according to local media reports over the weekend. Government officials have since confirmed that extra funds will be made available if necessary, though this is unlikely.

“Our main focus is to get the water pumped away, but at the same time we are also in the process of packing down our dams. It’s an extensive task,” said Martin Vang Nielsen of the Danish Emergency Management Agency.

According to a local loss adjuster, there have been examples of sewage rising in houses as a result of overflowing sewers, as well as damage to cars standing in water and boats that have become detached, flooded or otherwise been damaged by the violent gusts of wind and water.