Eurapco Non-Life Reinsurers Group members recently visited the Ahr Valley in Western Germany.
On July 14, 2021, the low-pressure weather system Bernd devastated the area causing an unprecedented catastrophe that claimed the lives of more than 180 people. Particularly affected was the Ahr Valley with entire villages destroyed by the flood. The water rose suddenly to 9 meters and washed through the valley, with a total estimated damage of over 7 billion Euros. You only really realize what that meant to the people living in the valley when you are on site.
In the upcoming weeks and months, our Partner, Gothaer, assisted the victims essentially, over 330 days of paid leaves were given to employees and volunteers for clearing work. Within one year, Gothaer handled over 8.800 claims in unbureaucratic extra shifts.
A year later, the region still resembles a construction site, and claims settlements in some cases are still being resolved. This disaster shows what the increase in extreme weather will mean for all of us in the future. The excursion was an eye-opening opportunity to try to understand the power of nature, see the huge damage caused by the flood not to mention the human suffering and realize the importance of reinsurance.