When the great misfortune happened, Yvonne Hageleit-Schreckenberg can still indicate exactly to the week.

21 weeks in which the entire inventory of the kitchen studio operator was flooded, the floods caused 2 million euros in damage, she received help from other people in Leverkusen-Opladen and gave it to others.

The building was insured, but not the contents.

Philipp Krohn

Editor in business, responsible for “People and Business”.

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The broker hadn't named the risk.

Then a 50 centimeter high brook became a raging river, and their part of town became a Veedel, in which everyone helped everyone.

Schreckenberg speaks out in favor of compulsory insurance against natural hazards.

After every major flood disaster, the debate about compulsory insurance is re-opened.

But politics has made no progress on the matter.

46 percent of households have elementary coverage, the rest do not.

The insurance industry would not like it to be completely binding.

But: "In new business, we encourage compulsory insurance with an opt-out," said Werner Görg, Chairman of the Gothaer Supervisory Board, on Monday evening at a digitally broadcast event organized by the Cologne Chamber of Commerce.

The floods on the Ahr, Erft and Wupper were remarkable, but by no means an exception.

In 1920 it rained so heavily in Füssen in Rhineland that it is still a benchmark today.

150 liters of rain in 24 hours are not a record

Deep Bernd had the consequence that in some places 150 liters of rain fell in one day.

“Back then it was 126 liters of water in eight minutes.

An unimaginable amount of water, ”said Görg.

In doing so, he also expressed that such damage events can repeat themselves at any time, especially in the face of advancing climate change.

In order to minimize the risk, there must be clear limits to construction activity.

“Do not build where it is not permitted,” demanded Görg.

Peter Biesenbach, CDU Justice Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, could well make friends with this.

However, he also contradicted the requirement for compulsory insurance for other reasons.

Even after the Elbe floods, the state justice ministers had checked whether an obligation was constitutional.

Even then, they had concerns.

Unlike in car insurance, where insurance is compulsory, a natural hazard policy does not protect third parties, but the owners themselves. A motor vehicle policy is necessary to financially protect those who have suffered a serious accident and who may need medical care for the rest of their lives.

With a natural hazard insurance, on the other hand, you protect yourself.

Car insurance is compulsory, but to protect third parties

"With the motor vehicle policy, the protection of the policyholder is subordinate, the protection of third parties is the focus. Here, however, the subsistence protection of the insured is in the foreground, ”said Biesenbach. The insurers emphasize that a large part of all buildings can be insured. "Why should someone be obliged to pay for a damaging event that does not affect him, but someone else?" Asked the state politician from Düsseldorf. With regard to elementary coverages, there is a demand problem, not a supplier problem.

Before the 300th anniversary of the Provinzial in the coming year, the heavy rain catastrophe caused by Tief Bernd was the most damaging event in the history of the German market leader in residential building insurance. “We are still in the process of regulation, half a billion euros have been paid out. We will see well over a billion claims burden, ”said Michael Hein, General Representative for Corporate Customers of Provinzial. He said to entrepreneur Schreckenberg that the decision not to use an elementary cover for the inventory in her kitchen business should be seen as a consulting error - even if the river is usually only half a meter high.

From his point of view, an automatically offered policy with the option of opting out is the best option.

"We want to make every risk insurable, for that you have to enforce prevention at the customer," he said.

On the other hand, if there was a duty, there would be less incentive for prevention - for example to invest in better protection against floods.

That, in turn, should drive up the prices for compulsory insurance.

"Why should I practice prevention, am I insured anyway?" For CDU politician Biesenbach, that was not a convincing argument.

Every insured person wants to avoid damage despite the coverage.

"If I have long-term care insurance, I don't intentionally eat fat every day," he replied.