Severe storm losses in France show need for effective models
The nation recently recorded almost $4bn in losses in less than three months
Severe convective storms that produce tornadoes, large hail, and damaging straight-line winds are a major loss driver for countries across Europe. As an example, it is worth looking at recent events in France, as from late May to July 2022 the country was bombarded by three separate periods of severe thunderstorms.
The storms ran from May 21 through May 23, then June 2–5, and finally June 18–July 4, with these storms combining to deliver baseball-sized hail, damaging winds, flooding from torrential rains, tornadoes, and lightning strikes. The storms in May struck across portions of western coastal France into northern France and the Paris Basin, with the early June storms extending through the remainder of France, and then slamming the country again from mid-June into early July.
It is worth focusing on the size of the losses. France Assurers, the French Federation of Insurance, announced that these three periods combined generated nearly 975,000 claims for insurers totalling 3.9 billion Euros ($3.99 billion). Around 87 percent of total losses were for homes and autos, with the remaining 13 percent related to commercial losses as well as crops and agriculture. This volume of claims has seen insurers racing to fulfil the unprecedented number of claims that were filed by insureds.
Losses of this size from severe convective storms cannot be considered as just attritional. They show the need for explicit modelling of tornadoes, large hail, and damaging straight-line winds across Europe in order to get a true representation of the true risk. Utilizing the latest science and claims history, models such as the RMS Europe Severe Convective Storm HD informs the industry through a 50,000-year probabilistic event set spanning 17 countries. Losses reaching nearly three billion Euros for one country in less than three months underlines the need for effective modelling.