Insurance: the forecasting of natural disasters is refined to strengthen prevention


In the streets of Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), December 10, 2021.

More frequent, more widespread and therefore more costly phenomena: the conclusions of the annual scientific report published on March 15 by the Caisse centrale de réassurance (CCR), the French public reinsurer, are hardly surprising as regards the evolution of natural disasters in France by 2050. But they illustrate the importance of modeling risks ever more finely in order to better prevent them and better finance their compensation.

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This compilation of studies carried out in partnership with scientific organizations such as Météo-France or the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Inrae), also gives the group the opportunity to recall the fragility the financial balance of the natural disaster compensation scheme.

Created in 1982, the “Cat Nat”, which combines the guarantee of insurers and the State via the CCR, remains financed by an additional premium applied to all home and automobile insurance contracts, up to 22 euros per household and per year, to finance compensation which has reached 1.5 billion euros per year on average over the past ten years.

Soil deformation

Problem: the exceptional drought of 2022 is considered to be the most costly event since the creation of the system, with 2.8 billion euros for the only compensation for damage due to “shrinkage-swelling of clays”, this phenomenon of deformation soils that weaken buildings. A risk that continues to grow and whose damage, often spread over years, is complicated to prevent.

According to the CCR, the frequency of droughts of a magnitude comparable to that, historical, of 2003 could also double: while scientists estimated at the time that a phenomenon of this magnitude would occur every 15 years, they now expect a return every seven years.

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Another major impact of climate change mentioned in the report: the consequences on agricultural harvests, the subject of a study carried out on the basis of a “mesh” of French territory on a scale of 8 by 8 kilometres, which allows an assessment of the damage to the finest.

This census concludes that there will be “generalized” drying up in the future, with a more marked development in the north of the country. The amount of lost crops would increase on average by 22% between now and 2050 to reach 1.5 billion euros and the meadows would be the most affected, with 70% of farms concerned.

“The objective is to use all this work, both on a large scale and with kilometric precision, to integrate the questions of climate change into the means of prevention”explains David Moncoulon, director of the CCR’s R&D Modeling department.

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