Hungary: extreme weather caused less damage this summer, but new phenomena are gaining ground

According to the first estimations of the Hungarian Association of Insurers (MABISZ), local insurers paid HUF 3.17 billion (EUR 9.7 million) between May 1 and August 31 for over 57 thousand claims for damages caused to individual and condominium buildings by storms, rainstorms, lightning, and hail.

In comparison with the 2017 summer season, this year was "calmer," at least in housing insurance terms, if not in public perception. Thus, last year's summer ended with a total bill for housing insurers of over HUF 6 billion, corresponding to the sum of over 103,000 claims.

According to MABISZ's calculations, between 2010 and 2017, the four summer months have led to a total of over 1.1 million claims reported, while paid claims for damage caused to homes by bad weather reached almost HUF 80 billion. 2010 was a record year in terms of natural disasters, with Hungarian insurers paying claims worth about HUF 30 billion for over 312 thousand claims. The densely populated Pest county, surrounding the capital city Budapest, was the Hungarian region that suffered the most every year. Among the claims filed each year because of extreme weather, damages to roofing and the resulting leakage was most common.

It is worth noting also that lightning strikes, rarely seen in Hungary before 2010, have become a frequent cause of damage to houses. This summer, claims paid for primary or secondary effects of the phenomenon amounted to about HUF 2.3 billion in the first eight months of the year, nearly on par with the sum paid throughout the entire year of 2017 (HUF 2.6 billion). The visibly rising trend of damages caused by lightning strikes is mostly due to the ever-increasing number of high-tech, expensive pieces of equipment contained in houses affected by the secondary induction effect. In fact, MABISZ warns, state-of-the-art technical equipment with integrated circuits is more vulnerable to the impact of lightning and power surges than is the case with similar previously used equipment. In light of this development, homeowners should review their home insurance policy coverage to make sure it also covers such type of damages.

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