PERILS updates Babet, Aline floods industry loss estimates

Latest projections reveal new high

PERILS updates Babet, Aline floods industry loss estimates

Catastrophe & Flood

By Kenneth Araullo

Zurich-based insurance data provider PERILS has updated its loss estimates for the floods and storms triggered by the low-pressure systems named Babet (Viktor) and Aline (Wolfgang).

These weather systems impacted the British Isles and northwestern Europe from October 18 to 22, 2023.

The revised loss estimate for the insurance industry stands at €691 million, which follows the initial figures of €509 million reported six weeks post-event on December 4, 2023, and €683 million provided three months later on January 22.

According to PERILS, the figures specifically reflect property damages across the markets in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, and Norway. Notably, the UK bore the brunt, with losses predominantly due to flooding amounting to £474 million.

PERILS plans to release a final market loss update for the Babet-Aline Floods and Storms on October 22, 2024, marking one year since the conclusion of the event.

The storms brought unprecedented heavy rain and powerful winds across the region, resulting in significant flooding in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and parts of England. As per PERILS’ data, these floods primarily caused the reported insurance losses, with additional, though lesser, impacts from wind damage.

The storm surge along the Baltic Sea coast in northern Germany and Denmark also caused considerable damage but was less frequently covered by insurance.

Luzi Hitz, product manager at PERILS, reflected on the broader climate implications six months since the Babet-Aline Floods, as well as the period of persistent extreme wind and rainfall events that many parts of Europe and particularly the UK and Ireland have continued to experience.

“The British Isles witnessed a record number of named storm systems, many bringing extensive rainfall leading to flooding. While the region has seen major winter floods in the past, such as the Desmond and Eva-Frank Floods in December 2015, given milder autumn and winter temperatures there is a greater capacity for water storage in the atmosphere which tends to precipitate as rain rather than snow. It is therefore likely the warming climate will drive a rise in the frequency of winter flood events,” Hitz said.

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