High Impact of Economic Loss from Natural Disasters in Croatia

By 11 February 2018

ZAGREB, February 11, 2018 - In terms of the impact of economic loss from natural disasters on GDP, Croatia tops a list of 33 European countries, however, it is at the bottom when it comes to property insurance, which makes natural disaster-related damage more expensive.

According to the figures which the Munich Re's NatCatSERVICE provided to the EEA, Croatia tops the ranking in terms of the natural disaster-related loss for GDP from 1980 to 2015, and annually losses of this kind affected Croatia's GDP by 0.2% on average, which is twice as much as the European average in the said period.

According to NatCatSERVICE data on natural disasters between 1980 and 2015 in the member countries of European Environment Agency (EEA), "weather and climate-related extremes accounted for 92% of total reported disaster events and around 83% of the total losses."

"Specifically, weather and climate related losses amounted to 433 billion euro (at 2015 Euro values), on average 12 billion euro per year, 75,800 euro per square kilometre, or 780 euro per capita." according to the article headlined "Economic losses from climate-related extremes" prepared by the EEA.

There were 89,873 fatalities registered over the period.

"Losses are equal to 0.1% of the cumulative deflated GDP over the analysed period, or nearly 3% of the GDP in 2015. Around 35% of the total losses were insured."

The Croatian finance ministry offers data that show that the number of damage claimed and its share in GDP changes from year to year. In 2013, it affected the national economy output by 0.1%, whereas in 2014, this percentage stood at 1.4% in 2014, or 0.6% in 2015 and 0.44 in 2016.

The Croatian Insurance Bureau says that the average property insurance premiums per capita in the 28-strong European Union is 150 euro, in Slovenia, for instance, it is 140 euro, whereas in Croatia it is a mere 40 euro. The highest average property insurance premiums per capita ranging between 300 and 400 euro are registered in Switzerland, Norway and Austria.

At the end of 2017, 23 Croatian insurance companies had 9.05 billion kuna in gross premiums written, up 3.4% on the year, according to the Insurance Bureau. In non-life insurance, which accounts for 67.53% of the premiums, gross premiums written at the end of 2017 rose 4.68% on the year to 6.1 billion kuna, while in life insurance they rose 0.76% to 2.94 billion kuna. The gross premiums written for protection against loss caused by fire and other natural disasters accounted for 6.81%.

In Croatia, property insurance is not yet required by law, while a high number of farmers who have not been insured lodge claims for damage.

The Insurance Europe study indicates that the higher percentage of insured property, the lower impact of disasters on a country's GDP. This is also conducive to the recovery after disasters.

Munich Re’s NatCatSERVICE provides comprehensive natural catastrophe expertise for risk management and research.