Southern Germany is expected to constitute most of this event’s loss, the cat modeler said.

Moody’s RMS Event Response has estimated that insured losses from the Central Europe floods between 30 May and 3 June in Germany will likely fall within the range of €2bn to €3bn ($2.1-3.2bn).

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The loss estimate includes insured losses for southern Germany, which is expected to constitute most of this event’s loss.

It excludes losses from flooding in Switzerland, Austria, Czechia, Hungary, and Italy, “as contributions from these countries are anticipated to be minimal”.

The estimate also excludes any potential losses from subsequent flooding further downstream and/or triggered by renewed precipitation, Moody’s RMS said.

The loss estimate is based on an analysis of the flooding using Moody’s RMS Europe inland flood high definition models.

It reflects insured property damage, spoiled contents, and business interruption across residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural property, and automobile lines.

It also considers sources of post-event loss amplification, recent inflationary trends, exposure growth, and increases in insurance take-up.

The estimate does not include insured losses to non-modelled exposures such as transport and utility infrastructure lines of business, or crops.

Heavy and persistent rainfall fell across central European areas between Tuesday, May 28, and Monday, June 3 as a series of low-pressure systems slowly crossed and remained over central Europe for several days.

Low-pressure systems with trajectories from the Mediterranean and across central Europe are also known as Van Bebber (Vb-type) cyclones, and have been responsible for some of the most severe central and east European flood events, such as the well-known 2002 and 2013 floods, the cat modelling firm said.

Moody’s RMS noted an initial period of heavy rain on Tuesday, May 28 was followed by a more prolonged period of heavy rain mainly focused on southern Germany between Thursday, May 30, and Monday, June 3, with several areas observing rainfall amounts greater than their monthly averages.

This led to widespread flash and river flooding, the firm said, initially of smaller rivers across southern Germany (mainly in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria), with the Danube River later reaching flood stage in several locations as the floodwater from the headwater catchments accumulated downstream.

“This event has much in common with the central European floods of 2013, and not just because it fell on the same days in the year,” said Daniel Bernet, assistant director, model product management, Moody’s.

“May 2024 was among the wettest months recorded in southern Germany. Soils were fully saturated after the initial heavy rainfall on May 28 and May 30, the more prolonged rainfall associated with a typical Vb-type event then led to widespread flooding in southern Germany.

“Even the insured losses from 2013 and the current events are in the same range when trending the 2013 losses to today. In Baden-Württemberg, given the flood insurance take-up rate is as high as 94 percent, most of the residential losses will be covered. Unfortunately, this high level of coverage is not the case in Bavaria where the flood insurance take-up rate is 47 percent,” Bernet said.

“Similarly, properties will not be covered for direct ground-water intrusions, a frequently observed phenomenon during the 2013 event. From a flood modeling perspective, the 2013 and 2024 events again highlight how important it is to appropriately capture key elements such as antecedent conditions, Vb-type events, cross-country correlations, flood defenses, and combined fluvial and pluvial flooding,” Bernet added.