In the wake of the catastrophic floods that struck in western Germany in July 2021, the German Insurance Association (GDV) revealed that only 46% of households in the country have insurance that covers floods and heavy rain.
GDV also stated that insured losses in the recent floods in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany could reach as much as 5 billion Euros in what has been the most damaging year since 2002.
Covered for Windstorms but Not Floods
Nationwide, nearly all residential buildings are covered for windstorm and hail, GDV said. However, only 46 percent of homeowners have protection against other natural hazards such as heavy rain and floods.
Jörg Asmussen, chief executive of the German Insurance Association (GDV) explained that while it is encouraging that nearly half of building owners now have protection against other natural hazards, those without flood and rain insurance coverage should review and adjust their home insurance.
Natural Hazard Check
To raise homeowners’ awareness of the risk posed by natural hazards, GDV offers the “Natural Hazard Check.”
Property owners and tenants can use the online platform to find out what damage severe weather has caused in the past at their place of residence and can thus better assess their individual risk.
Insured Flood Losses Could Reach 5 Billion Euros
GDV said the insured losses in the recent floods in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in western Germany could reach as much as 5 billion Euros.
“The damage is likely to be even higher than that of the August flood in 2002 of 4.65 billion euros. Low ‘Bernd’ (as the storm was named in Germany) is thus one of the most devastating storms in recent history,” Asmussen said.
The damage in Saxony and Bavaria is not included in this initial estimate. Insurers are still evaluating the events.
Pressure to Assess Claims
According to Asmussen, insurers have been working under pressure for days to assess and settle claims in the affected areas. “We are doing everything we can to help pragmatically and efficiently so that our customers’ claims can be processed quickly and without complications,” said the GDV CEO. “My thoughts are with the people who have lost relatives and friends and those who fear for their belongings.”
With regard to the emergency flood aid decided by the German government, Asmussen said, “The damage that has now occurred far exceeds the self-help capacities of the municipalities and districts. To alleviate the immediate need, the disbursement of emergency aid therefore makes sense.”
Most Damaging Year Since 2002
“Overall, this year with storms, flooding, heavy rain and hail is likely to be the most damaging year since 2002,” Asmussen said. At that time, insured storm damage was 10.9 billion euros. In June, heavy rain and hail had already caused an estimated insured loss of 1.7 billion euros.