We help make Central and Eastern Europe more resilient to natural catastrophes

Economic losses from catastrophe events in Europe in 2017 were USD 23.7 billion, of which USD 12 billion were covered by the insurance industry. Most of the losses came in periods of weather extremes, including a series of windstorms and a cold snap early in the year, and drought conditions later. In late spring, a cold spell brought frost damage to crops in many countries. The crops had bloomed prematurely due to an unseasonably warm winter. Economic losses were estimated to be USD 4 billion, of which USD 0.9 billion were insured. The vegetation period has frequently started early in past years, and this can inflate crop losses when frost conditions set in.

It looked like 2017 was going to be a good year for Europe's farmers, with warmer-than-usual temperatures in February and March sparking early budding and fast crop growth. In mid-April, however, the weather changed, dramatically. A low pressure system from the north brought cold polar air over Central and Eastern Europe, and then to the Iberian Peninsula. The cold wave eventually hit most of Europe, with temperatures dropping to below zero degrees Celsius overnight. The low pressure system also brought snow and ground frost.

Climate change will likely lead to more frequent warm winters and earlier springs. With this will come earlier plant development, an extension of the growing season, and early crop growth that is ever-more vulnerable to cold snaps, because the frequency and severity of late spring frost events had not changed much over time. The warmer conditions, especially during winter, entail another challenge for agriculture, in that they affect the proliferation of invasive species and diseases. Additionally, weather events like drought, heavy rains and storms may become frequent and severe due to changing climate, further impacting farmers' livelihoods.  

Flash and river floods, hail and drought – increasingly natural disasters are taking numerous lives and putting Central and Eastern Europe economies under severe stress. At Swiss Re, we apply our natural catastrophe expertise, together with the knowledge and insights of the Swiss Re Institute and its flagship sigma research, to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your clients. Like helping you make prompt claims payouts to both companies and families when summer flooding in 2002 caused over EUR 7 billion across large parts of Central and Eastern Europe. In today’s disruptive, data-driven environment, we can leverage our respective expertise and use tech-driven solutions to help you achieve success. And help make the world more resilient to natural catastrophes too. We’re smarter together.

* Adjusted to 2017 values in accordance with local CPI.

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