The first half of 2018 saw a significant rise in the number of claims made by Belgian companies. Between January and June 2018, insurance broker Vanbreda Risk & Benefits recorded a 42% increase in claims compared to the same period last year. Claims relating to storm damage increased by 163%, with the huge storm of 18 January being the main cause.
As the market leader, Vanbreda Risk & Benefits insures thousands of Belgian companies against storm damage. It does this with the so-called property policy, that insures companies against damage to buildings and their contents.
When auditing our portfolio, we saw that there was a 42% rise in claims made by companies in the first half of the year (see table). “This increase is largely due to the storm of 18 January 2018,” says Guy Kerstens, Deputy Director Claims Management at Vanbreda. “That storm alone resulted in 226 new claims, ranging from water damage to damage from high winds. As a result, the number of claims made by companies that can be linked to a storm increased by 163% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2017.”
In the past, storm damage on such a large scale occurred roughly once every eight to ten years. By way of example, Belgium was hit hard by storm damage in 2007 and suffered severe damage from hail in 2014.
This pattern is no longer the norm: figures from Assuralia and Vanbreda indicate that damage resulting from serious weather phenomena is becoming increasingly common and now occurs once every two to four years.
The losses for 2017 were also twice as high as those recorded in 2007. On average, storm damage today amounts to EUR 3,500 to 8,000, yet Vanbreda has also seen highs ranging from EUR 500,000 to 1.2 million.
“The average claim payment with floods is far higher than with other weather phenomena”, says Deputy Director Property Christel Kiebzak. “Water happens to cause more damage to infrastructure and electronics.”
Every firm wants their claim to be reimbursed as soon as possible. “How quickly a claim is handled depends, to a large extent, on the discussions the brokers have with the insurers,” says Christel Kiebzak. “Vanbreda has contracts with major insurers which allow decisions to be made quickly so the case can be closed.”