Germany is the dominant contributor of loss to the event with about 70 percent of the total loss, followed by Belgium with about 25 percent
RMS estimates that insured losses from the Western and Central Europe flooding, which occurred between 12 and 18 July 2021 will likely range between €5 billion and €6.5 billion ($6 billion and $7.7 billion).
A stationary low-pressure system, named Bernd by the Berlin Institute of Meteorology, triggered intense rainfalls over Western and Central Europe, as well as swaths of severe convective storms leading to widespread and record-breaking flooding.
The catastrophe modeller reconstructed a flood hazard footprint that covers the worst affected areas, including western and southern Germany, eastern Belgium, eastern France and Luxembourg.
Germany is the dominant contributor of loss to the event with about 70 percent of the total loss, followed by Belgium with about 25 percent of the loss.
The loss estimate includes insured property and business interruption loss to residential, commercial, industrial, automobile, and infrastructure lines and accounts for the potential of post-event loss amplification and extended business interruption.
It excludes losses observed in the Netherlands, which sits outside of the model domain, and losses in Switzerland, Bavaria and Saxony in Germany, and Austria, which were caused outside the time window of the heaviest rainfall.
Daniel Bernet, product manager, Europe Flood Models, RMS, commented: “In terms of loss, this event is expected to be comparable to the costliest European flood events in recent history, the Central and Eastern Europe floods of 2002 and 2013.”
”However, unlike the 2002 and 2013 events during which overtopping and breaching of major rivers contributed substantially to overall damages, the 2021 event occurred in a different region and was characterised with much steeper and faster flood waves with higher flow velocities in smaller rivers and tributaries that caused substantial structural damage, and regretfully, an unusually high number of fatalities.”
Even before Bernd, two weeks of heavy rain and hail in June caused record levels of insured losses, estimated German insurance association GDV, to be as high as €1.7 billion.
The events have reignited debate in Germany about the need to make flood cover compulsory. Unlike many other European countries, Germany does not have a catastrophe pool in place and flood risk is excluded from standard industrial, commercial and homeowner policies.