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Italy storms caused over €3bn in economic losses, says Minister

8th November 2018 - Author: Matt Sheehan

The storms that battered Italy with flooding and windspeeds of up to 190km/h (118mph) towards the end of October 2018 are expected to cause economic losses in excess of €3 billion (US $3.44 billion), according to the country’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Danilo Toninelli.

italy storm flooding

Record high water levels were recorded in Venice following the storm. Source: EPA-EFE

“I think that the total bill of damages in the many Italian regions is higher than three billion euros,” ANSA quoted Toninelli as saying on a visit to Rapallo, which was hit by damaging waves during the storm.

This figure is significantly higher than earlier estimates by other officials, such as Luca Zaia, the Governor of Veneto, who said that damages would be closer to €1 billion last week.

The storm is also expected to drive significant losses for primary insurers due to damages to properties, vehicles, and boats, some of which could call on reinsurance support.

Over 30 people were killed in the storms, which affected the regions of Veneto, Liguria and Sicily particularly severely.

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In Venice, strong winds blowing onshore from the Mediterranean caused storm surge of up to five feet, which, combined with heavy rainfall, resulted in the worst flooding the city has seen in a decade, with water levels reaching 154cm (61.4 inches).

The storm overwhelmed the flood defences in Venice, which is experiencing increasingly frequent flooding due to a combination of rising sea levels and shifting tectonic plates that are causing the city to slowly sink into the sea.

Further north in Italy, high winds damaged buildings and cars, flattened tens of thousands of trees, downed power lines, and caused landslides.

Strong winds and rough waters also damaged many boats along the coast, including cruise ships, some of which were ripped from their moorings or collided with other vessels.

Insurers and reinsurers will continue to pay close attention to the aftermath of Italy’s recent storm as the full extent of the damage emerges and as losses are tallied.

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