Belgium raises ceiling for natural disaster insurance to 1.6 bn euros

The ceiling for the Belgian insurance sector's intervention in natural disasters will be more than quadrupled and set at 1.6 billion euros. The federal government will formally decide this later today, Economy minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne announced on Friday.

The decision comes two years after the July 2021 floods that killed 39 people. Dermagne witnessed the events. "I saw bewilderment, solidarity and hope all around me," he said. "But also how people - who no longer had a roof over their heads - had to negotiate with their insurers for months. If such a disaster were to happen again tomorrow, I want people to be fully compensated."

The ceiling for insurers' intervention in natural disasters will be increased from 1 January 2024 to more than four times the current ceiling. "The 2021 floods forced insurers and the Walloon region to negotiate a solution to ensure that those affected received full compensation," said Dermagne. "Today, we are significantly reducing the risk of ending up in the same situation again."

According to Dermagne, the Belgian National Bank has calculated that the impact will be limited to a premium increase of 1.26 per cent. This is a moderate increase, he believes, as the industry is expected to find reinsurance cover smoothly. The cost may even be lower, as the uncertainty the sector faces is reduced.

Additional solutions for claims above the 1.6 billion euro ceiling have yet to be found.


Damage after the 2021 floods in Pepinster © BELGA PHOTO BERNARD GILLET

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