French Vineyard-Damaging Storms Hit Insurers With Claims

The storms that pounded vineyards in Southwestern France around Bordeaux and Cognac last month probably cost insurers as much as 900 million euros ($1.2 billion), Aon Plc said in a report.

Winds of 90 miles (145 kilometers) an hour and hail that swept through Western and Central Europe in the first half of June caused more than 2 billion euros in economic losses, the insurance broker said yesterday in a report. France and Germany were hit the hardest.

Europe has been slammed by bad weather in June for two years in a row. In 2013, insurers paid more than $4 billion as a result of hailstorms, mostly in the western part of the continent, said Aon. This year, about 363,000 claims were filed in France amid destruction in wine-producing regions.

The storms caused “extensive crop damage,” Aon said. “Swaths of vineyards were destroyed.”

Axa SA is the largest property-casualty insurer in France, followed by Allianz SE, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Paris-based Axa also owns vineyards in the country through its Axa Millesimes, said Discretion Winter, an Axa spokeswoman based in the U.S. Winter said she didn’t know whether any crops owned by Axa were destroyed.

In the U.S., tornadoes and windstorms that traveled from the Rocky Mountains to the Tennessee Valley last month will probably cost insurers more than $1 billion, Aon said.

More than 300 tornadoes hit the U.S. last month, compared with 125 a year earlier and 111 in June 2012, according to preliminary data from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. May, June and July tend to be the worst months for twisters, it said.

Rains in China in June resulted in more than $2.2 billion in economic damage, Aon said.

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