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German storms cause insurers losses of $1.6 billion

By Reuters

BERLIN – German insurers will have to pay around 1.4 billion euros ($1.57 billion) for nearly a million property units damaged in winter storms that swept across large parts of the country in mid-February, the German Insurance Association (GDV) said on Friday.

“Three severe hurricane-like storms in such a short period of time are so far rather rare in Germany,” GDV Chief Executive Joerg Asmussen said in a statement. “Fortunately, well over 90% of homeowners are insured against storm damage.”

The association said the damaged insured units include 900,000 houses, household goods, shops and industrial plants as well as 65,000 cars.

Between Feb. 16 and Feb. 21, storms “Ylenia”, “Zeynep” and “Antonia” swept across large parts of Germany with wind speeds of up to 160 kilometres per hour, causing severe damage.

GDV said they rank third among the most severe winter storms in Germany in the past 20 years after “Kyrill”, which caused insurers losses of 3.6 billion euros in 2007, and “Jeanette”, for which they had to pay 1.44 billion euros in 2002.

($1 = 0.8924 euros)