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RMS puts Kyrill cost at $3.9 to $6.6 billion


LONDON—Catastrophe modeling company, Risk Management Solutions, has estimated that Windstorm Kyrill could cost an estimated €3 billion ($3.9 billion) to €5 billion ($6.6 billion) in insured losses.

RMS' analysis comes two days after AIR Worldwide Corp. gave a broader range for the possible insured losses from the storms of between €4 billion ($5.2 billion) and €8 billion ($10.4 billion).

Windstorm Kyrill developed in the mid-Atlantic on January 17, 2007, and caused widespread damage across the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic the following day. According to RMS, the breakdown of losses shows that the greatest damage happened in the United Kingdom and Germany, and was likely to come from residential and motor losses.

RMS said that Kyrill was the most damaging storm in the United Kingdom since Windstorm Daria in January 1990, but that the former was less intense. The catastrophe modeling company said that if Daria were to be repeated in the United Kingdom today the cost would be approximately €6 billion ($7.8 billion) in insured losses.

"Kyrill subjected the European building stock to widespread damaging winds, but not of the intensity experienced during the 1999 storms [Lothar, Anatol and Martin]," said Dr Barbara Page, lead model manager for European windstorm modeling.

But credit rating company Fitch Ratings said that it thought that Kyrill will have only a limited rating impact on European insurers, as the expected insurance claims were not material enough to threaten the insurance sector's financial strength.

"While Kyrill has had a regionally destructive effect on infrastructure and properties, it does not constitute a major catastrophic event in terms of insured losses as occurred with Hurricane Katrina with $45 billion or Hurricane Andrew at $22 billion," said Chris Waterman, managing director at Fitch's insurance team.

Fitch expects the losses to be similar to those incurred when Lothar and Daria occurred, and that the claims will not be substantial enough to threaten the stability of either primary insurers or reinsurers. This is despite the fact that Kyrill hit one of the most densely populated areas of Europe, with a high concentration of insured property.