Overview: Severe hailstorms caused widespread property, motor and crop damage in Switzerland on July, 23 2009. Although hail losses only make up an average of 9 percent of all claims in Switzerland every year, the peril has the potential to cause severe localised damage in the country. Hailstorms can trigger insurance claims totaling hundreds of millions of euros if they hit Swiss urban areas, and this scenario was realized on July 23 when hail measuring up to 50 mm in diameter badly battered central and northern cantons and caused the biggest Swiss hail loss in recent memory.
Event Summary: Significant damage was reported across northern and central Switzerland following the hailstorms on July 23. Wind gusts of more than 100 kmph and heavy rainfall were mixed with hailstones the size of golf balls. Although reports said the storms only lasted for 30 minutes in some parts, they still caused extensive damage in six cantons (Aargau, Bern, Fribourg, Lucerne, St. Gallen and Vaud). Severe disruption to road and rail traffic was also reported and insurance officials said the hailstorms were the most costly to hit Switzerland in 50 years.
Swiss Insurance Market: Insurance officials said the hailstorms on July 23 were the most severe and costly to hit Switzerland in 50 years. Despite typically being local events, these storms can cause severe damage to property, vehicles and crops as the July 23 hailstorms demonstrated.