June 1, 2018 / 7:26 AM / in 7 months

Insurer Gjensidige says Norway faces significantly less flood damage

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway’s biggest insurer Gjensidige has seen less-than-expected flood damage in the second quarter, helped by unseasonably warm weather in May, its chief executive told Reuters.

Following a harsh winter, the company had feared that rain and melting snow would cause extensive flooding.

“Weather-wise the second quarter has been good so far, but the level of large losses is very volatile,” CEO Helge Leiro Baastad told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference.

The large snowfall this year also triggered the insurer to invest more than ever in preventive measurer.

“We feared the worst floods since the extreme floods of 1995, but after some flooding in early May, the rest of the month was surprisingly warm and dry,” he said, adding that with all the snow now melted, the risk is definitively over.

“I think total market damage is just below 100 million Norwegian crowns ($12.21 million), which is a marginal sum when you divide it by the different (insurance) companies,” Leiro Baastad said.

“It’s nowhere near as bad as we had expected and only marginal compared to recent years,” he added.

In 1995, floods during spring and early summer caused damage of close to 2 billion crowns.

Reporting by Camilla Knudsen, editing by Terje Solsvik

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