AIR Estimates Cyclone Niklas Insured Losses from $1.09 to $2+ Billion

April 7, 2015

Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimates that insured losses from Extratropical Cyclone Niklas will range between €1.0 billion and €1.9 billion [$1.09 to $2.07 billion], with the majority of losses in Germany.

Losses also occurred in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, and the UK. AIR pointed out that these “estimates include wind damage to onshore residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural properties (and their contents), and automobiles.

Yörn Tatge, managing director of AIR Worldwide GmbH, described the storm’s progress: “On March 29, a low pressure system (Niklas) formed and then strengthened the next day as it moved southeastward over Europe.

“On March 31, Niklas developed into a strong storm centered over Denmark and the southern Baltic Sea, bringing high winds and heavy precipitation to Germany and parts of the UK. By the evening of March 31, Niklas’ cold front arrived in the alpine region of Germany, causing widespread intense precipitation and strong squalls.

Recorded wind speeds for Niklas across Germany ranged from 119 km/h [74 mph] in various coastal areas and on Wasserkuppe, 151 km/h [94 mph] on Feldberg in the Black Forest, up to the maximum reported measurement of 192 km/h [119.3 mph] on Zugspitze, which is Germany’s highest mountain.”

Niklas continued to move eastward, causing intermittent squalls, heavy precipitation, and thunderstorms, as well as snowstorms in locations less than 500 meters [1,640 feet] above sea level. The storms felled trees that damaged vehicles and buildings, including their roofs and façades, and disrupted rail and air travel during the busy holiday season.

“Gust wind speeds compared to mean wind speeds were unusually high and compare to values for Kyrill in 2007,” Tatge concluded,. “Although the average wind speeds for Niklas are lower than for Kyrill, the extent of damaging winds is comparable, which makes Niklas one of the larger storms to have impacted Europe.”

AIR’s analysis b notes that “due to the relatively low wind speeds (compared to hurricanes), the average claim size is expected to be low. However, the spatial extent of damaging winds is quite large for this storm and therefore claims may sum to a significant amount. In combination with the uncertainty of the wind footprint, this is a significant factor of uncertainty in potential losses.

AIR said its industry insured loss estimates reflect “insured physical damage from wind to property (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, auto), both structures and their contents.”

The insured loss estimates, however, do not include the following:
• Business interruption and additional living expenses (ALE) for residential claims for all modeled countries, except the UK
• Losses to uninsured properties
• Losses to infrastructure
• Demand surge (AIR’s demand surge function is not triggered by this event)

Source: AIR Worldwide

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