The latest tragedy, the floods in Germany and Belgium, is a stark reminder of how severe weather events have become over the past years. The toll of the recent floods is nearing 200. This is a tenfold increase from the reported casualties in the floods in 2002, which before July were deemed to be the worst floods in Europe in this century.
'The images reaching us from the disaster areas not only in the past few days, but in the last few weeks from different countries, have left us stunned,' says Klaus-Peter Roehler, Member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE and Chairman of the Board of Management of Allianz Deutschland AG. 'We are there for our customers, offering the best possible support and helping wherever we can. To support relief workers, Allianz in Germany is donating 1 million euros to the rescue organizations involved,' he adds.
The donations will be used for technical equipment or gear, such as waterproof protective clothing, and for pumps and boats that were lost or damaged in the rescue operation.
For the victims, every single contribution counts.
Although it's too early to estimate the damages - for Allianz as well as for the German Insurance Association (GDV) - there is little doubt they will be substantial.
'At the moment, we are not yet able to accurately estimate the dimension of the loss. However, they will be significant for sure,' says Jochen Haug, Chief Claims Officer and Member of the Board of Management of Allianz Versicherungs-AG. 'Currently, we can only confirm that we have many Allianz customers in the affected areas. However, due to the current situation on the ground, many customers have not yet been able to send us their claims reports or inform us about the damage,' he says.
Many Allianz representatives are out on the field helping and supporting customers, despite being severely affected themselves. 'Our claims adjusters are already deployed to all accessible areas to personally assist those being affected, to record the damage and to arrange the first advances, if necessary,' Haug elaborates. Other adjusters, experts and external service providers from all over Germany are arriving in the affected regions to help, record damage and discuss the next steps with their clients.
In Belgium, 20 people have died so far. Allianz Benelux is yet to put a number to the damages. However, initial estimates by the Belgian Association of Insurers peg market-wide losses at several hundred million euros. So far, the highest recorded loss from floods in Belgium is around 150 million euros, in 2016.
Corporate insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) is receiving the first claims from companies in the regions affected. The company's claims experts are advising clients on the steps to resume operations quickly and safely. However, the extent of property damage is still unclear, as is the expected duration of business interruptions.