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Storm Ciara insurance losses may be €1.9bn

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Significant damage: Severe flooding caused by Storm Ciara. Photo: PA

Significant damage: Severe flooding caused by Storm Ciara. Photo: PA

PA

Significant damage: Severe flooding caused by Storm Ciara. Photo: PA

Storm Ciara, which pounded the country last weekend and battered its way across the UK and into continental Europe, will result in insured losses of between €1bn and €1.9bn, according to estimates from US risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide.

The company said the majority of the losses would be incurred in the UK, Germany and France.

The bill for insurance companies so far this year in Ireland and the UK will likely rise this weekend as Storm Dennis sweeps across the region.

Boston-based AIR Worldwide said that its estimates include only insured losses.

That means Storm Ciara's bill could be higher when uninsured property damage is taken into consideration.

"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 homes in Ireland," it said.

"Hundreds of flights were cancelled in the UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands; long-distance train services were suspended in Germany; and the ports of Dover and Calais were shut down."

In Ireland, Storm Ciara saw some structural damage to buildings.

A primary school on Achill Island had its roof torn off while pupils were in class.

The storm damage came just days after insurance firm FBD said its expected profits for 2019 are likely to double to €100m, helped by what had it said had been "exceptionally benign" weather throughout the year. FBD also received a tailwind from better than expected investment returns, and a strong positive prior year reserve development.

In 2018, Storm Emma resulted in a net cost after reinsurance of €6.6m to FBD. The storm clashed with the so-called 'Beast from the East', resulting in the worst snowfall Ireland had seen since 1982.

The previous year, Storm Ophelia, which was the tail-end of a hurricane, also caused significant damage here.

Following Ophelia, FBD received gross claims of between €10m and €11m, but the net cost to the insurer allowing for reinsurance was €5.4m.

Insurance firm Aon's annual report last month said the planet endured 40 weather disasters last year whose cost each exceeded $1bn.

The combined insured and uninsured economic loss from 409 weather and earthquake catastrophes in 2019 totalled $232bn (€213bn), Aon said.

Irish Independent