One year after severe floods, 75 percent of Belgian victims are fully compensated

Almost a year after the heavy floods that hit Belgium and other European countries from 14 to 16 July 2021, only ten percent of the damage claims are still open. About 75 percent of the victims have already been fully compensated. This is shown in the balance sheet drawn up by Assuralia, the Professional Association of Insurance Companies, on Monday.

Of all the damage claims that were opened in Belgium after the floods, 90 per cent have been settled today. This means that 75 percent of the victims have already been fully compensated by their insurer for the part they were insured for. The remaining 15 percent of the insured will be paid the remaining amount after submitting their invoices for the work done.

In total, insurers in the three Belgian regions have already paid out 1.7 billion euro. On average, this amounts to about 30,000 euro per case, although in the hardest hit areas this can increase significantly.

"I think this is a very correct statistic," says Hein Lannoy, CEO of Assuralia. "Our insurers worked day and night during that first period to find a solution to the damage and suffering as quickly as possible."

Ten percent of the files have yet to be finalised. In those cases, discussions are still ongoing about the total amount of compensation. Those affected have already received advance payments, but in these cases the files are still open because supporting documents are missing, several expert assessments are needed after the buildings have dried up or contractors have been overcharged.

Unprecedented magnitude

In July last year, Belgium had to cope with floods of an unprecedented magnitude, which mainly affected the areas along the banks of the river Meuse and its tributaries in Wallonia. At the time, the rain gauges of the Service Publique de Wallonie - Mobilité et Infrastructures (SPW MI) registered the following rainfall amounts over a period of 48 hours: in Jalhay 271.5 mm (271.5 litres per square metre), in Spa 217.1 mm, Neu-Hattlich 189.0 mm, Mont Rigi 192.4 mm. These were exceptional amounts of rain, which only occur once in a hundred years.

A few days later, on 24 July, parts of Wallonia were again hit by severe weather, resulting in flooding and mudslides. This time it was mainly the provinces of Namur and Walloon Brabant that were affected. The damage was considerable in Namur, Dinant and Walhain, among other places.

General natural disaster

The Walloon government recognised the floods of 14 to 16 July as a 'general natural disaster' and limited the area to 209 municipalities. All municipalities in the provinces of Liège, Luxembourg and Namur, 21 out of 27 municipalities in Walloon Brabant and 22 out of 69 municipalities in Hainaut. Another 15 municipalities in the province of Namur received recognition for the floods of 24 July.

The 10 most severely affected municipalities were Chaudfontaine, Esneux, Eupen, Liège, Limbourg, Pepinster, Rochefort, Theux, Trooz and Verviers. At least 41 people died as a result of the floods. Several houses collapsed. About 20,000 people had no electricity and drinking water was contaminated.

Central Europe

The floods of July 2021 also affected various other countries in Europe. The northwestern interior of Central Europe was particularly affected, including Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

The floods were caused by persistent rainfall, which in turn was caused by a low pressure area that persisted for days. Several rivers and brooks overflowed. The Belgian province of Liège and the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate were the worst affected. In total, more than 220 people died in the natural disaster.


© BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND - Illustration shows the area affected by the July-floods in La Broucke, part of Trooz, one month after the devastating floods, Monday 16 August 2021. At least 38 people have died in floods that occured after extreme rainfall in Liege Province, mid-July.


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