Insured Losses for Europe’s Storm Sabine (aka Ciara/Elsa) Estimated at €1.6B: PERILS

August 11, 2020

The industry loss footprint for extratropical cyclone “Sabine” – also known as “Ciara” and “Elsa” – is estimated at €1.61 billion (US$1.9 billion), according to PERILS, the independent Zurich-based organization that provides industry-wide catastrophe insurance data.

Cyclone Sabine hit the British Isles, and Western and Central Europe from Feb. 9-11, 2020. The event was named Sabine by the Free University of Berlin, while the Irish and UK national weather services jointly named the storm Ciara and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute named it Elsa.

The loss to the insurance industry from Sabine represents the largest loss from a European windstorm since Friederike (David) in January 2018. 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. The event also affected the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Northern Italy, which are not covered by the PERILS loss survey.

The storm was particularly noteworthy given the exceptionally wide area affected by the damaging wind gusts which extended across the British Isles and Continental Europe. In addition, the duration of the storm was unusual, with windstorm conditions persisting for over 48 hours in many countries. In total, an estimated 250 million people were exposed to wind gusts in excess of 80 kilomters per hour (49.7 mph) at some point during the progression of the storm.

The total industry event loss figure of €1.61 billion (US$1.9 billion) is based on detailed loss data collected from the majority of the affected insurers. This figure compares to PERILS’ previous loss estimates of €1.55 billion (US$1.82 billion), which were released on March 24 and May 11, 2020. (Due to the industry challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, PERILS did not carry out a second round of data collection prior to issuing its report on May 11, so the estimate was unchanged.)

This third report provides a detailed breakdown of property losses by CRESTA zone for all affected countries, with the data further divided into property lines of business and split into buildings, contents and business interruption losses where available. It is complemented with information on damage degrees which show the damage as a percentage of sums insured, as well as wind-gust data from the German and UK Met Offices and EuroTempest.

In line with the PERILS reporting schedule, an updated estimate of the Sabine market loss will be made available on Feb. 11, 2021, 12 months after the event end date.

“Sabine was a significant windstorm event especially given its impact on so many countries over an extended period. We believe that being able to provide detailed information on the effects of a single event across multiple regions within one source report is extremely valuable to the insurance market,” commented Luzi Hitz, CEO of PERILS.

“Further, by being able to combine the Sabine loss footprint with other European windstorm events captured in identical resolution in the PERILS database, it offers an accurate benchmark for validating catastrophe risk models for European extratropical cyclones,” Hitz added.

Source: PERILS

Photograph: Storm Ciara arrives with waves hitting Lyme Regis in the U.K. on Feb. 09, 2020. Amber weather warnings are in place as gusts of up to 90mph and heavy rain sweep across the UK with travellers facing disruption from Storm Ciara. Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images.

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