YEAR OF STORMS: 40% more storm damages claimed last year[Dagmar Gilden | 05.03.2020 :]
The statistics of Seesam Insurance show that late autumn last year, which was exceptionally warm and stormy, caused almost half as many storm damages than in 2018. Although indemnification of damages is still underway, the sum of indemnities paid so far is almost threefold that of the year before.
According to Dagmar Gilden, Home Insurance Product Manager at Seesam Insurance, 2019 was atypical for insurance companies. “If usually snow-related damages are common during winter time,” highlighted the product manager, “this year insurance companies are mostly dealing with indemnifying storm damages. For example, in 2018, we didn’t register any storm damage cases in December, but in the last month of 2019, we received 43 applications caused by storms only.”
The main damage areas were Harku and Viimsi Rural Municipality and coastal areas in West-Estonia, but also Tartu, where storms hit several households. “Big storms mainly damage fences,” said the insurance expert about the most common damages, “especially those that are in a bad condition before the storm, but also roofs are harmed.” According to her, damages can often be minimised or even prevented. For example, trampolines and garden furniture are often left in the yard to wait for the summer, but a strong wind is enough to lift the items up and break everything in their path.
“It is reasonable to put away garden furniture and trampolines when autumn arrives due to storm winds,” said Gilden. “Another important activity for preventing storm damage is checking your roof to ensure that there are no loose or open edges, sheets or other visible damages.” Rainwater tends to come right through these with stormy weather and in the event of a bigger storm, it is possible that the wind can take hold of a smaller loose edge and take a bigger part of the roof with it.
Although the previous year stuck out due to many storm damages, Seesam’s representative admits that so far the registered damages have been rather “happy” incidents, i.e. on average the amount of value is up to 1500 euros and even bigger damages don’t exceed 5000 euros.
Climate change causes insurance companies to review contract conditions
“It is visible that the natural pattern of seasons has changed,” Gilden explained. “Heat waves, drought periods and extreme storms and downpour don’t only occur in faraway countries, but have reached Estonia too. In relation to this, it is more and more expensive to insure your home in a coastal area.”
Storms also make insurance providers think more seriously about the resistance of buildings, and insurance companies will probably turn more attention to this issue sooner or later.
“We will definitely not find ourselves in a situation where a certain part of the building or a house located in a certain place won’t be insured,” the insurer predicted, “but there might be stricter requirements to constructing or maintaining a building.” According to her, the new year will also continue in the spirit of storms and has brought along an avalanche of applications caused by storm damages. “A quarter of last year’s indemnity applications have been submitted within the first two months of this year,” she said.