Losses for the severe hailstorms that hit Germany in late July are estimated to be as high as $2 billion, making it one of the 10 costliest natural disasters in German history, according to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide.
The hailstorms occurred after a prolonged heat wave in Central Europe and ahead of a low pressure system named Andreas. A hail supercell was reported on July 27 in northern Germany, followed by a second severe hailstorm that formed July 28 in southern Germany, affecting a heavily populated region with high concentrations of exposure.
Reported losses for both events combined are estimated to exceed $1.7 billion—with some estimates up to $2 billion—making this the second largest hail event in Germany, behind only the devastating 1984 Munich hailstorm.
The final insured loss number is likely to be even higher because many residents were away on holiday and losses were not reported in time for the preliminary reports.
According to AIR, based on the latest reports, approximately 100,000 buildings and 50,000 automobiles were damaged in the hailstorms. Building damage was mostly from broken windows and shutters, broken roof tiles and perforated siding. Car damage is in line with typical hail damage, including dented exteriors and broken windshields.
Given the commonly applied 72 hours clause, AIR says the hailstorms will be considered as a single occurrence for reinsurance purposes. For some companies, this event represents the largest loss since winter storm Kyrill in 2007.
Nicolai Thum, senior research associate at AIR, says that “AIR Worldwide is currently developing a pan-European severe thunderstorm model that will help the insurance industry manage this risk. The ability to realistically model the complexity of hail events will be an important component of the model, and this latest outbreak will be used as a benchmark event. The event also serves as a powerful reminder of the loss potential from hailstorms in Central Europe.”