The damage caused by the flood disaster in mid-July is significantly greater than previously thought. "We are now expecting insurance losses of around seven billion euros," said the general manager of the General Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV), Jörg Asmussen, on Wednesday. Around 6.5 billion euros of this went to residential buildings, household effects and businesses, and around 450 million euros to motor vehicles. “The dimensions of this extreme event will only become apparent as the claim and settlement progress.” So far, the association had estimated the loss at the upper end of the range of 4.5 to 5.5 billion euros.

The storm front "Bernd" moved across large parts of Germany from July 13th to 18th and caused floods with at least 180 deaths.

Severe damage from heavy rain and floods occurred primarily in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, but also in Bavaria and Saxony.

The federal and state governments have launched an aid fund worth 30 billion euros.

The insurers are currently assuming around 250,000 claims - around 200,000 on houses, household effects and businesses and up to 50,000 on motor vehicles.

Most damaging natural disaster 

The flash flood is the historically most damaging natural disaster in Germany. According to GDV, the damage is higher than that of the floods in August 2002 (4.75 billion euros) and in June 2013 (2.25 billion euros) as well as the hurricane "Kyrill" (3.6 billion euros). "Together with the high hail damage in early summer, it is becoming apparent that 2021 will be one of the most expensive natural hazard years ever for insurers," explained Asmussen.

The actual storm damage is still far above the current estimates, since by far not all buildings are insured against all natural hazards. While almost all residential buildings nationwide are protected against storms and hail, according to the association, only 46 percent have protection against other natural hazards such as heavy rain and floods. "Together with our member companies, we will be presenting ideas by autumn on how the spread of natural hazard insurance can be significantly increased at risk-based prices," explained Asmussen. "It is also important to reach those who, despite the recent flood disaster, do not want to believe that they too can be affected by natural hazards."