For the second year in a row, horticultural insurance company Gartenbau-Versicherung can look back on a significantly above-average year of losses. More than 50 million euros were paid out to the members of the insurance association or are still available - to a lesser extent. This is because the shortage of materials and craftsmen continues to cause delays in many places. The loss ratio in direct business was 69 percent. One in five member companies reported a loss in 2022.
In fact, more money was paid out for storm damage than the members had paid for this risk. The storm trio Ylenia, Zeynep, and Antonia alone, which swept across Germany, France, and the Netherlands for several days in February 2022, caused almost 1,000 losses totaling 11.2 million euros. Another regional focus was the Italian west coast, which was hit several times in the summer by severe storms, including tornadoes. Here, too, compensation payments ran into the millions - for the largest single event in mid-August 2022 alone, 4.7 million euros were due.
After storms, hail was the second most frequent cause of damage in 2022. In France in particular, many panes of glass were broken, for example, around the densely populated horticultural center in Orléans. A total of 7 million euros was incurred for hail damage in France in June alone, of which almost 5 million euros were near Orléans.
But it was not only natural events that resulted in high payouts. In Germany, most losses in 2022 were caused by a technical failure or quarantine pathogens. The Jordan virus ToBRFV, for example, hit several German tomato farms, with damage totals in the six-figure range in each case.
In view of the last two loss years, CEO Christian Senft highlights the successful internationalization of the specialty insurer: "The last two years have again shown how important it is to have a broad regional spread of our members. Only in this way can we also offer affordable and good protection against climate change." In 2022, the first members in Poland took out policies, and as a result, the horticultural insurance company is now active in 8 countries.
Strong growth abroad has also enabled Gartenbau-Versicherung to further expand its qualified claims-handling teams outside Germany in 2022. "A damage in Alsace is handled just as quickly and professionally as in neighboring Baden," emphasizes Senft. "That's because our high standards of service apply everywhere, and we help every member in an emergency quickly, competently, and personally. Judging by the feedback we receive, this worked out excellently again in 2022."
At the same time, this claim is also the guiding principle of a digitization project that will be launched this year, Senft explains further. This is because the insurance damage process is to be reformed in order to at least ensure a very high level of member satisfaction in the future as well, while at the same time becoming even more efficient internally. "Our first goal is to become even faster and better for our members, also in the case of extreme events, which are becoming more likely due to climate change. We also want our teams at headquarters and in the field to have more time to use their human qualities in advising and providing personal support to our members. We are setting an important course for this year," concludes Senft.