February storms to cost over EUR3 billion

The series of windstorms which tore across large swathes of Europe in February are now expected to cost the market over EUR3 billion.

According to risk modeller PERILS, named storms Ylenia, Zeynep and Antonia in Europe and Dudley, Eunice and Franklin in the UK, which occurred between 16-21 February 2022, will drive insured property market losses of EUR3.289 million.

The loss estimate is based on claims data collected from insurers, and suggests that the majority of costs were incurred in Germany, followed by the Benelux states, the UK and France.

The risk modeller also recorded modest losses in Austria, Denmark and Switzerland, as well as Poland and the Czech Republic, although it does not cover these territories.

The company added that, in line with its reporting schedule, an updated estimate of the market loss from the storm series will be made available on 20 May 2022, three months after the event end date.

The cluster of windstorms was driven by a strong jet stream which acted as a conveyor belt for low-pressure systems from the North Atlantic across the British Isles and on into Europe.

PERILS explained that this clustering phenomena is not uncommon for European extratropical cyclones but poses a challenge for the insurance sector as it makes it difficult to precisely allocate insurance claims to a specific storm.

Moreover, event definition clauses for reinsurance purposes are not homogenous in Europe and can include meteorological conditions plus loss aggregation periods ranging from 72 hours up to 168 hours.

Given these factors, PERILS has reported the losses from the European windstorm series as a single insurance event.

The storm series generated strong winds across the British Isles and Western Europe causing major disruption and extensive damage to insured properties with the strongest impact from Zeynep (Eunice) and the weakest from Antonia (Franklin).

In total, approximately 1.8 million individual insurance claims were filed.

While the vast majority were for non-structural damage with moderate average claim sizes, the huge number of claims could result in the largest European windstorm loss since Kyrill in January 2007, PERILS said.

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