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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Insured losses from Storm Ciara could hit £1.5bn

Insured property losses from Storm Ciara are likely to fall between £900m and £1.5bn, according to forecasts by catastrophe risk-modelling firm RMS.

Ciara caused widespread damage across Europe ©Shutterstock
Ciara caused widespread damage across Europe ©Shutterstock

Germany is predicted to account for around 50% of the losses, with the UK, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic also suffering damage.

This is based on a hazard reconstruction using version 15.0 of the RMS Europe Windstorm Models, and includes damage to property, auto, forestry, agriculture, and direct business interruption.

"Windstorm Ciara is very likely to be the first billion-Euro windstorm of this season," said Michèle Lai, product manager for Europe climate models at RMS.

"This event exhibited characteristics typical of European windstorms, with low gusty winds causing widespread damage across several countries.”

Ciara was the third windstorm named by the UK’s Met Office this season, hitting parts of the country on February 9 before moving to Europe where it was named Sabine in Germany.

In addition to significant wind damage, the storm has caused coastal and inland flooding in the UK and downed trees and power lines, causing 675,000 homes to lose electricity.

Power outages affected tens of thousands of homes in Germany and France as well, with power cuts affecting nearly 500,000 people across Europe.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled in the UK, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, long-distance trains were suspended in Germany, and the ports of Dover and Calais were shut down.

In addition, storm surge affected Hamburg after Ciara caused the Elbe River to rise.

The estimates exclude damage to infrastructure, although RMS does not expect any post-event cost amplification and anticipates low business interruption losses.

Losses from auto are not expected to exceed more than 5% of the total.

“Our loss range represents the current uncertainty in the event loss, which is primarily driven by prolonged, squally gusts that locally affected several regions across the continent," Lai added.

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