Insured Losses for Europe’s Storm Sabine (aka Ciara) Estimated at €1.55B: PERILS

March 24, 2020

The initial loss estimate for extratropical cyclone Sabine”, also known as “Ciara” and “Elsa,” is €1.55 billion (US$1.8 billion), according to PERILS, the independent Zurich-based organization that provides industry-wide catastrophe insurance data.

The event hit the British Isles, and Western and Central Europe from Feb. 9 to 11, 2020 with the majority of insurance losses reported in Germany.

The low-pressure system associated with the event was named “Sabine” by the Free University of Berlin. The Irish and UK national weather services jointly named the storm “Ciara,” while the Norwegian Meteorological Institute named it “Elsa,” noted PERILS.

The storm was noteworthy given the wide area affected by the damaging wind gusts which extended across the British Isles and Continental Europe, said PERILS, noting that the duration of the storm also was unusual with windstorm conditions persisting for over 48 hours in many countries.

In total, it is estimated that approximately 250 million people were exposed to wind gusts in excess of 80 km/h (50 mph) at some point during the progression of the storm.

The loss to the insurance industry from Sabine represents the largest loss from a European windstorm since Friederike (David) in January 2018, said PERILS.

The majority of insurance claims were reported in Germany, followed by the Benelux countries, France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark. Despite having been hit by very strong winds, the Republic of Ireland suffered comparably minor insurance losses, as was the case for Norway and Sweden. In total, extratropical cyclone Sabine resulted in the deaths of 14 people across Europe.

While the level of the market event loss resulting from Sabine is material, it is not unusual, affirmed PERILS, noting that such a level can be expected to be reached or exceeded approximately once every three years, based on the last 40 years of European windstorm loss history.

In line with the PERILS reporting schedule, an updated estimate of the Sabine market loss will be made available on May 11, 2020, three months after the event end date.

Photograph: Waves from Storm Ciara hitting the harbor in Lyme Regis, UK, called the Cobb, on Feb. 09, 2020. Photo credit: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images.

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