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German insurance payouts record year due to natural disasters
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German insurance payouts record year due to natural disasters

Drone footage shows flooding in Schuld, Germany

German insurers paid out record amounts in 2021 due the high losses incurred from natural disasters, an industry group announced Monday.

The cost of floods, storms and other disasters led to payouts of about 12.5 billion ($14.2 billion) for insured houses, household goods, businesses and motor vehicles, according to the German Insurance Association (GDV).

The vast bulk of that figure (8.2 billion) came from the July floods that devastated areas of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia and killed more than 180 people. The floods sparked a discussion on compulsory insurance for natural disasters and restrictions on building areas in flood-prone zones.

In June, severe hailstorms caused damage to vehicles and property worth millions of euros.

These made 2021 “the ugliest natural hazard years since statistics began in early 1970s,” GDV CEO Jrg.

The 2021 payouts even came ahead of 2002, when August floods and devastating storms contributed to an annual total of 11.3 billion in payouts. 

According to the German insurance industry the average annual long-term cost is 3.8 billion.

Climate change worsening disasters

Climate change is expected to lead to increased losses from severe storms, hail, floods and flooding in Germany in the future.

Insurance giant Swiss Re estimated earlier this month that natural disasters had caused $105 billion in damages globally, with hurricane Ida in the US costing $30-32 billion.

Also on Monday, UK charity Christian Aid estimated that the 10 most-expensive weather disasters caused more than $170 billion in damages in 2021 $20 billion more than in 2020.

According to its annual assessment, the 10 events were made worse by man-made global climate change. They together killed at most 1,075 people and displaced at least 1.5 million.

Its most costly events were hurricane Ida, flooding and damage in Germany and Belgium (which was estimated at $43 Billion in losses), winter storms and flooding in Texas, flooding and flooding in Canada, Henan province in China, and late spring frosts and damage in France.

Christian Aid’s climate policy lead Kat Kramer stated that “the costs of climate change were grave this year.”

aw/msh (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)

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