Winter storm Ciara-Sabine insured losses between EUR 1.1 - 1.9 billion, risk modelers' estimations agree

17 February 2020 — Daniela GHETU
AIR Worldwide estimates insured losses for winter storm Ciara-Sabine will be between EUR 1.1 Billion and EUR 1.9 Billion, while RMS sets the upper limit to EUR 1.8 billion. Both agree also that Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are the areas most affected.

Storm Ciara was officially named on Wednesday, February 5, by the UK Met Office, the third windstorm the agency has named this season. Ciara struck parts of Ireland and the UK on Sunday, February 9, then moved to Europe where it was named Sabine in Germany and also impacted France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway (where it was named Elsa), and other European countries.

In addition to significant wind damage, Storm Ciara has caused coastal and inland flooding in the UK and downed trees and power lines, which caused 675,000 homes to lose electricity there, in addition to 10,000 in Ireland. Power outages affected tens of thousands of homes in Germany and France as well, with power cuts affecting nearly 500,000 people across Europe.

Hundreds of flights were canceled in the UK, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands; long-distance train service was suspended in Germany; and the ports of Dover, England, and Calais, France, were shut down. In addition, storm surge affected Hamburg after Sabine caused the Elbe River to rise.

According to RMS calculations, losses in Germany will account for around 50 percent of the total loss. "Windstorm Ciara is very likely to be the first billion-Euro windstorm of this season. This event exhibited characteristics typical of European windstorms, with low gusty winds causing widespread damage across several countries, and is most comparable to Windstorm Emma in 2008," said Michele LAI, product manager for Europe Climate Models at RMS. "Our loss range represents the current uncertainty in the event loss, which is primarily driven by prolonged, squally gusts that locally affected several regions across the continent."

AIR's modeled insured loss estimates include:
  • Insured physical damage from wind to property (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and auto), including structures and their contents, as well as business interruption and additional living expenses

AIR's modeled insured loss estimates do not include:
  • Losses due to coastal or inland flooding
  • Additional living expenses (ALE) for residential claims for all modeled countries, except the UK
  • Losses to uninsured properties
  • Losses to infrastructure
  • Demand surge

The RMS loss estimate is based on a hazard reconstruction using the version 15.0 RMS Europe Windstorm Models and includes damage to property, auto, forestry, agriculture, and direct business interruption but excludes losses from damage to infrastructure. RMS does not expect any post-event loss amplification and anticipates low business interruption losses. Losses from auto are not expected to exceed more than five percent of the total loss.
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