Insurers face $4.5bn losses after European floods

European insurers could be nursing losses of up to $4.5bn (£3bn) following devastating floods that affected the continent during June, according to figures released today by Swiss Re.

The reinsurance giant said industry-wide payouts would be in the region of $3.5-4.5bn and it would face a bill of $300m.

The floods hit eastern parts of Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia last month.

But Matthias Weber, Swiss Re's chief underwriting officer, said cities such as Prague were saved from the worst of the flooding due to investment in mobile flood barriers: "Thanks to timely prevention measures, large areas have been saved from the flooding. With the right prevention measures in place, insurers can offer more affordable coverage, which means that more people and businesses can benefit from insurance."