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RMS Estimates Insured Losses from Windstorm Xynthia


Posted on 11 Mar 2010

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Based on extensive reconnaissance of the affected area, as well as over 800 meteorological observations, Risk Management Solutions (RMS) estimates that private market insured wind losses from Windstorm Xynthia will fall between EUR1.0 billion and EUR2.0 billion.

This estimate includes wind damage to property, motor, and forestry in France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, and covers the potential impacts of post-event loss amplification – such as a surge in demand for materials and labor – together with direct business interruption costs resulting from the storm damage.

The estimate does not include losses from wind damage to infrastructure such as communication networks or power lines. Losses from Spain are also excluded from the range. “In Spain, some discrepancies remain in recorded wind speeds from Xynthia and therefore the extent of damage which will be absorbed by the public Catastrophe Pool is not yet clear,” commented Stefan Beine, senior director, model product marketing at RMS.

Together with widespread wind damage, Xynthia created significant storm surge flooding in Western France, with the Vendee, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sevres and Vienne regions declared a state of natural disaster. However, the majority of the losses resulting from the storm surge are expected to be covered under the country’s CAT NAT pool and are therefore not included in the RMS loss estimate.

“Many of the communities in these regions of Western France are built at or close to sea-level, and a combination of extremely high-tides with the deep low-pressure system created catastrophic consequences,” said Mr. Beine. “RMS reconnaissance teams have been in the field analyzing storm and flood defenses and how damage can be minimized in the future.”

Compared to Windstorm Klaus in 2009, which was characterized by higher wind speeds in a more concentrated area and resulted in around EUR1.5 billion in insured losses, damage from windstorm Xynthia was more widespread but less severe. “There are limited observations of severe wind damage from Xynthia. Our reconnaissance teams have predominantly seen minor roof damage, including in the towns and villages close to where the highest peak gusts were recorded.” Insured property losses are based on data from the RMS Europe Windstorm Model.


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