We help make Germany 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.

Fruit farmers were also hit hard. In Germany frost damage let to an approximately 50% yield reduction from apple orchards. The magnitude of losses forced some farmers into debt and state-backed disaster relief funds were used to support those affected. It was the first time in Germany that frost has received recognition as a natural disaster "variable" in this way.

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, storms, hail and drought – increasingly natural disasters are taking numerous lives and putting the German economy 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 when the 2013 floods caused nearly EUR 2.4 billion in insured losses across Germany*. 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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