Canadian Underwriter

Insured losses from windstorm Christian estimated at 800 million to 1.3 billion euros: Willis Re

November 4, 2013   by Canadian Underwriter

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Insured losses from windstorm Christian, which wreaked havoc on parts of the United Kingdom and Europe in late October, are expected to be in the range of €800 million to €1.3 billion, Willis Re announced Monday.

Christian is not the largest windstorms to have ever affected Europe, but it is the biggest since windstorm Xynthia produced industry losses of about €1.3 billion in 2010, says Dr. John Alarcon, executive director of Willis Re. “This storm could potentially equal Xynthia in terms of insured loss, but is unlikely to exceed it,” Alarcon reports.

A storm system, consisting of two low pressure systems, had an impact on the U.K., northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and northern Germany, notes an events response analysis issued by Willis Re. Damage has mainly come from fallen trees, fallen tiles and smashed windows.

On Oct. 29, Willis Re’s initial estimate of insured loss in the U.K. was approximately €350 million to €590 million. “More recent information suggests that this modelled loss may overstate actual losses, but the picture is by no means clear as yet,” the analysis adds.

Specifically, Willis Re reports loss estimates and preliminary loss estimates by country are as follows:

  • Germany – estimated at €250 million to €400 million;
  • Denmark – preliminary estimate of approximately €160 million to €325 million;
  • Sweden and the rest of the Nordic region – estimate of as much as €50 million;
  • Netherlands – about €100 million to €150 million of insured losses; and
  • France and Belgium – low insured losses.

During the weekend of Oct. 27, a major Atlantic storm developed and brought widespread strong winds and heavy rainfall across the U.K., Willis Re reports. The storm systems were named Burkhard and Christian.

“The most severe conditions have been associated with a second low centre called Christian on the southern flank of Burkhard,” notes the analysis. “Christian developed rapidly in a process known as ‘explosive cyclogenesis,’ or ‘bombing.’ This was accompanied by the high-velocity winds of the jet stream aloft descending through the atmosphere,” it adds.

The storm continued to intensify as it moved into mainland Europe, but because it moved quickly, the duration of the strong winds was limited for any one location, generally reaching peaks of 50 mph to 80 mph.

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