Sat, 09 Dec 2023

Natural disasters caused €10 billion of losses in 2022 as such events became more frequent and more intense, the head of the federation of French insurance companies said on Thursday.

"It was an annus horribilis," France Assureurs president Florence Lustman told Europe 1 radio, citing the hailstorms, floods and droughts that hit the country last year.

Natural disasters cost the industry 3.5 billion euros on average per year between 2017-2021.

The 2022 figure is the highest since storms pummelled France in 1999.

Lustman pointed to the "intensification of extreme climatic phenomena" and an "increase in their frequency", direct consequences of global warming.

Hailstorms, storms, floods and drought multiplied in France in 2022, spreading throughout the country.

French insurance companies to pay out nearly €4bn to cover storm damages

Regions that are usually spared are now affected, such as Brittany's mythical forest of Broceliande, which was hit by a fire this summer.

And storms are becoming more violent.

"Hailstones are now the size of a tennis ball instead of a ping-pong ball," says Lustman.

Losses set to rise

The insurance association is not very optimistic about the years ahead, especially because of the increasingly visible effects of climate change.

In a study released on Thursday, France Assureurs places climate change as the second main risk identified by the profession for the next five years.

Cyberattacks are its number-one risk, while the worsening economic situation is ranked third.

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The insurance federation said the bill from natural disasters will exceed €140 billion over the next 30 years, double the amount for the previous three decades.

Reinsurance giant Swiss Re said in December that natural and human-made catastrophes caused €246 billion of economic losses worldwide in 2022.

(with wires)

Originally published on RFI

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