Bill for hailstorm damage continues to climb

A hailstorm that pelted Switzerland on July 23 caused more damage than previously thought, a reinsurance group said on Friday.

This content was published on July 31, 2009

The Intercantonal Reinsurance Union estimates that damage from the storm could reach SFr300 million ($275 million), up from SFr80-120 million estimated earlier this week.

That figure includes claims for property, vehicles and agriculture. Farmers have filed more than 5,000 claims for destroyed corn, potatoes and other crops.

"Because of holidays, all claims have not been announced yet," the reinsurer's head of communications, Rolf Meier, told the Swiss news agency. Property owners in canton Bern have up to two years to claim damages.

Insurer Mobiliar said it would pay out close to SFr56 million and Allianz said estimated it would cover SFr30 million in damages for roughly 13,000 policyholders.

AXA Winterthur said on Friday it would pay out compensation in excess of SFr60 million for 20,000 damaged cars.

The storm, which swept across western and central regions, generated hailstones as large as five centimetres in diameter – about the size of tennis balls. It pummeled swaths of cantons Vaud, Fribourg, Bern, Lucerne and Nidwalden.

The storm also caused flooding in cellars, which pushed the bill higher.

Insurance companies often use reinsurance companies to help cover claims in the event of widespread damage. and agencies

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