Insurers: Prevention hardly plays a role
Carpenters repair a half-timbered house in the Ahar Valley that was damaged in a flood.
Photo: Boris Rösler/DPA
The flood disaster devastated the entire region in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. Nevertheless, many of those affected have lost their homes and are building a new home in the same place.
Updated: 06/07/2022 16:33
Berlin. According to the insurers, after the flood disasters in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia last year, many victims are rebuilding their destroyed houses in the affected areas, despite threats.
Jörg Asmussen, General Manager of the General Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV), said on Wednesday in Berlin: “All houses on Erft and Ahr will be rebuilt except for 34 houses in the same place.”
However, according to Annegret Thicken, a professor for natural hazard research at the University of Potsdam, there is no sign of a general reluctance on the part of those affected to build in less endangered areas. Other factors are crucial. “On the one hand, we have to consider that those affected want to rebuild as quickly as possible in order to return to everyday life as quickly as possible.” Prolonged exploration of new places has a deterrent effect.
GDV boss calls for new concepts
“Furthermore, space isn’t always available in valleys,” Thicken points out. Potential alternative construction sites are limited in some places because they are located in landscape protection areas and cannot easily be reused. “This is a mixed situation that is not easy to answer,” said the scientist. “It needs new concepts.”
GDV boss Asmussen had also requested this. “We believe this is a missed opportunity to be much better and more resilient,” he said. The multi-territory reconstruction shows that containment plays “very little role” at the community level and in households themselves. Statistically, extreme weather events will occur more and more frequently in the future, according to the GDV.
Insurance damage of 8.5 billion euros
The natural disaster, which killed dozens of people last year, led to insurance losses of around 8.5 billion euros. According to GDV, insurance companies have now paid around 5 billion euros. Claims reconstruction for the remainder of the quarter continues. Rising material costs due to inflation and longer waiting times for craftsmen often delay repairs, Esmussen emphasized.
The GDV therefore assumes that the construction price index for residential buildings and the wage price index for the construction industry will also rise in the coming year. The corresponding premium adjustments in the so-called flexible replacement value insurance for residential buildings result from these indices. This insurance ensures that buildings are insured against damage at their current value, not the value of the year they were built.
Asmussen reiterated the association’s rejection of a possible mandatory natural hazard insurance that is intended to cover damage caused by natural hazards.
However, the insured loss accounts for only a small part of the total damage caused by the devastation caused by the floods last year. According to experts, at the beginning of this year it was at least 33 billion euros.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220706-99-930520/4 (dpa)