PERILS releases initial industry loss estimate of €1.9bn from storm Ciarán

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Zurich-domiciled catastrophe insurance data provider, PERILS, has disclosed an initial industry loss estimate for extratropical windstorm Ciarán, also known as Emir of €1.889 billion. The storm affected France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands from the 1st-2nd November 2023, with damaging wind gusts.

Thunderstorm imageThe resulting industry losses were typical for European windstorms in that a large number of smaller claims, stemming mostly from non-structural property damage, added up to a significant total, says PERILS.

PERILS’ estimate of the insurance market loss is based on loss data collected from the affected insurers. In line with the coverage definition for Europe, this loss number covers the property line of business. The vast majority of the industry losses related to wind losses in France of €1.593 billion.

The event was named Ciarán by the UK Met Office and Emir by the Free University of Berlin on 29th October. The low-pressure system associated with Windstorm Ciarán initially formed off the coast of Newfoundland.

Christoph Oehy, Chief Executive Officer, PERILS, commented “Even though Windstorm Ciarán brought record winds to Brittany, its impact could have been much worse had the storm’s path been more southerly or northerly. As it was, the most extreme winds tracked over the English Channel and hence spared large population centres.

“Nevertheless, the loss to the insurance industry was considerable, with France leading the tally by a significant margin, followed by the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands. For France, which saw event losses estimated at EUR 1,593 million, Windstorm Ciarán is the largest loss since Windstorm Klaus in 2009. Looking at historical windstorm losses for France, such a windstorm loss level has an estimated return period of approximately once every twelve years.”

Throughout its duration, the storm’s central low tracked eastwards along the English Channel, before moving out over the North Sea.

During this period, the storm’s footprint covered the English Channel and coastal regions of southern England and northern France with heavy rain and extremely high wind gusts in some areas. As the system moved further across the North Sea with a weakening central pressure, strong winds affected Belgium and the Netherlands.

The extratropical windstorm was forecast well in advance of making landfall by the national weather services and timely warnings went out to the public.

Ciarán was followed by extratropical windstorm Domingos, or Fred, which does not exceed PERILS’ reporting threshold of €300 million. There will be an updated market loss estimate three months post-event end date in line with PERILS reporting schedule.

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