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27 Jul 2023, 13:41
Carolina Kyllmann

German insurers warn of more frequent heavy rainfall as damages likely to surge in future

Clean Energy Wire

Extreme rainfall in Germany between 2002 and 2021 has generated damages on residential buildings worth over 12.6 billion euros, figures by insurer association GDV show. “Extreme weather events are increasing and with them the damage,” GDV head Jörg Asmussen said. “Climate change means more heat, more drought, but also more storms and heavy rain. We must prepare for this.” According to the numbers, every tenth home in Germany was affected by heavy rainfall between 2002 and 2021, and dealing with the consequences cost homeowners an average of 7,600 euros.

Berlin was the state where residential buildings were most affected, with heavy rainfall damaging one in seven homes. This was followed by Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. At an average of 11,000 euros, the reparation costs were highest in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate where, in 2021, heavy rains caused a disastrous flood considered one of the worst in the country’s post-war history. Regarding cities, Euskirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia saw the highest damage costs, with repairs costing an average of over 45,000 euros.

“We assume that the probability of an extreme event like the one that hit western Germany in 2021 is up to nine times higher as a result of climate change,” research associate at meteorological service DWD Katharina Lengfeld said. “Short, heavy downpours occur everywhere in Germany. That means anyone can be affected by heavy rain.” In the past insurance associations have pleaded with homeowners to stop building in flood-prone areas and warned that insuring residential buildings could become twice as expensive, as insurers would need to decide whether they will still be able to insure all damage caused by natural hazards in the long term. “We must consistently implement prevention and climate adaptation in Germany,” GDV’s Asmussen said.

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