Hailstorms in Switzerland pose a significant threat to property and the local population, despite the localized nature of the peril. Although hail events lack the widespread destruction of floods and windstorms, the risk is potentially costly, especially in densely developed urban areas.
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Severe hailstorms have become a regular occurrence during the summer months in Switzerland over the last few years, mostly in areas to the north of the Alps. Several other significant hail losses have been recorded in the country over the last ten years. According to Munich Re, a severe hailstorm in June 2002 badly hit the cantons of Aargau and Zurich. The cantons of Thurgau, St. Gallen and Lucerne were also affected and Munich Re said the hailstorms triggered economic losses of CHF335 million, of which CHF260 million were insured.
For the purposes of this report, Guy Carpenter spoke to the Intercantonal Reinsurance Union (IRV), a body that represents all the cantonal insurers, and the ES-Pool, which represents 15 private insurers in Switzerland. The responses we received suggest cantonal and private insurers are likely to payout 150,000 claims totalling more than CHF733 million. Table 3 shows how the overall insured loss is split between cantonal and private insurers and line of business.
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.
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.
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.
Heavy rainfall across south eastern parts of the United States over the first half of this week resulted in several fatalities and extensive damage to property and infrastructure. Georgia has been the worst affected state. According to the State Insurance Commissioner, the flooding in Georgia has claimed nine lives and caused around USD250 million in damage to property and tens of millions of dollars in further damage to infrastructure.
It was reported that the governor of Georgia had declared a state of emergency in 17 of the worst-affected counties and had requested President Barack Obama to declare a state of emergency for Georgia as a whole.
Tropical Storm Krovanh is located approximately 108 miles (174 kilometers) east-northeast of Tokyo, Japan and continues to accelerate north-northeast, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Krovanh is currently a tropical storm and is moving at 21 mph (34 kmph) with sustained winds of approximately 58 mph (93 kmph).
Krovanh battered Tokyo and the east coast of Japan on Monday bringing heavy rain and winds. According to reports, the storm disrupted train and flight schedules, cancelling 27 international and 30 domestic flights at Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports, and delaying many others.
Intense Hurricane Jimena is located approximately 370 miles (595 kilometers) south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and currently packs sustained winds of around 145 mph (230 kmph), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The NHC has reported that Jimena, which has intensified quickly since it formed early on August 29, 2009, is currently an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 30 miles (45 kilometers) and tropical storm force winds extending outward up to 80 miles (130 kilometers) from the storm’s center. Jimena is currently moving towards the northwest at approximately 8 mph (13 kmph) and a gradual increase in forward speed accompanied by a turn toward the north-northwest is expected during the next day or so. Current forecasts from the NHC expect Jimena to be approaching the southern portion of the Baja California peninsula on September 1.
Danny was reported to have become absorbed by an extra-tropical depression over North Carolina early on August 29, 2009. The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) reported that at 09:00 UTC on 29 August, the remnants of Danny were located around 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and around 540 miles (875 kilometers) south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts. As of 09:00 UTC on August 29, the tropical storm watch for the North Carolina coast from Cape Lookout northward to Duck, including the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds, had been discontinued.