GERMANY: 75% of claims settled in the first year after Bernd; lack of resources in reconstruction delays the rest of payments

6 July 2022 — Daniela GHETU
One year after the flash flood Bernd that affected Germany between 13 and 17 July 2021, German insurers have already paid out EUR 5 billion of the EUR 8.5 billion in total damage (~ 75% of all insurance claims), despite many delays in reconstruction, the German Insurers' Association said in a post on its blog.

In the cases that are still open, in most cases insureds have already been compensated for large parts of the damage. "Just about every homeowner who had insurance got money from their insurance company quickly," Joerg Asmussen, General Manager of the German Insurance Association (GDV) said, adding that regulation further depends on the pace of reconstruction. However, as there often materials, as well as craftsmen are in short supply, the process is delayed.

According to GDV, insurers recorded a total of 213,000 claims, of which 40,000 were damaged vehicles, 54,000 insured events in household insurance, 91,000 damaged residential buildings and 28,000 companies that reported property damage and business interruptions from July 14 due to the heavy rains. In the disaster areas, more than 2,000 single-family homes with insured damage in excess of EUR 100,000 had to be repaired. In the district of Ahrweiler, the average damage was EUR 210,000 per residential building. This is the highest average damage ever measured for residential buildings. Every fourth house in the Euskirchen district was damaged.

Overall, according to GDV data, claims to property amounted to EUR 8.1 billion, while another EUR 350 million represent motor insurance claims related to the same event. For comparison, the second large event in Germany was August flood in 2002, which totaled EUR 4.65 billion in property claims and just about EUR 100 million in motor insurance claims. According to different sources, the total economic losses after flash flood Bernd may exceed EUR 10 billion.

"The flood disaster was also an enormous challenge for us insurers," said Sabine Krummenerl, Chairwoman of the GDV Private Customers Committee. She explained that in the first weeks after the event, 16,000 internal and around 2,500 external experts were involved in assisting quickly the insureds, not only financially, but also psychologically and practically.

Source: GDV