Catastrophe risk modeler AIR Worldwide has issued a bulletin estimating insured losses from Winter Storm Kyrill (or Cyril) at between ?4 billion and ?8 billion ($5.18 billion and $10.37 billion). The GDV German insurance industry association estimated that country`s insured losses at around ?1 billion ($1.3 billion), according to Insurance Journal.

The storm moved across northern Europe, first striking Northern Ireland, before moving on across the UK, Northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and on into the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Poland (See IJ web site Jan.19). At one point its hurricane force winds approached 200 kph (120 mph), causing significant travel and power disruptions, flooding, and building damage.

"Winter Storm Kyrill is the worst storm to hit Europe in eight years," stated Dr. Peter Dailey, Director of Atmospheric Science for research and modeling at AIR Worldwide. "Kyrill produced winds in many parts of Europe that were strong enough to produce moderate levels of damage."

AIR noted that "upwards of one million customers in Poland and the Czech Republic; 100,000 in northern France; 15,000 in Austria; and hundreds of thousands in the UK and Germany are without power. Widespread flooding has also been reported in coastal and low-lying parts of Germany, including parts of Berlin. As is common following strong extratropical cyclones, cold air is now funneling into Europe causing temperatures to plummet."

"What was most notable about this event was its unusually large foot print," Dailey continued. "The path of damaging winds extends north to south from Scotland to Switzerland and east to west from France to eastern Germany and beyond."

None of Europe`s major insurers and reinsurers have yet given individual estimates of their expected losses. Most have indicated that it`s too early to do so.