BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - Storm, hail and heavy rain caused insured losses of 5.7 billion euros last year. "That's 1.7 billion euros more than in 2022," said Jorg Asmussen, Managing Director of the German Insurance Association (GDV), in Berlin on Monday. "This is mainly due to severe and expensive hail damage to motor vehicles." According to the association, the previous registered record was 13.9 billion in 2021.

In an initial estimate at the end of last year, insurers had assumed a lower figure. The statistics have been kept since the early 1970s.

According to the figures, the storms last August alone caused a good quarter of the total damage in 2023 at 1.5 billion euros. There was also high damage from storms in June. In contrast, there were largely no severe storms in autumn and winter.

Most insured losses were incurred in Bavaria - more than two billion euros were registered. Hesse came second in the statistics with 890 million euros. "The Alpine region and the Taunus and Odenwald low mountain ranges in Hesse were particularly frequently affected by hail," said Asmussen according to the press release.

Higher prices for spare parts

The overall association also recorded an increase in motor insurance: the average insured damage due to storm and hail amounted to 4,100 euros. This is the third-highest figure after 1984 (4700 euros) and 2021 (4300 euros). "The reason for the high costs is the increase in spare parts prices and high workshop wages," the association continued.

In recent months, storms in Germany have repeatedly caused considerable damage. However, this sum was not included in the balance sheet now presented. According to meteorologists, extreme weather events are occurring more frequently due to the climate crisis.

Discussion about compulsory insurance

In response to the forces of nature, there have recently been renewed calls from politicians for the introduction of compulsory insurance for natural hazards. The state premiers want to discuss this with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) next month. Asmussen said: "Compulsory insurance as the sole means of protection helps no one - neither homeowners nor the federal states and local authorities."

The Chief Executive called for the focus of protection against natural hazards to be on climate impact adaptation. "We need climate change adaptation to be anchored in building regulations, less land sealing and building bans in flood areas."

According to the association, an average of 54% of all residential buildings in Germany are insured against all natural hazards - and not just against individual weather phenomena such as storms and hail. The insurance density, as it is known, rose by two percentage points nationwide within the past year./cht/DP/stk