CDU calls for more elementary insurance – SWR Aktuell

In view of the massive flood damage in the Ahr valley, the CDU opposition in the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament has called for better insurance coverage. The request was rejected, but what would such a political decision mean for homeowners?

Government factions in the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament rejected the CDU parliamentary group’s motion for elementary damage insurance in the state parliament on Wednesday. The request was vague and came at the wrong time. In addition, the country does not have jurisdiction in this matter. “Rhineland-Palatinate cannot decide whether or not to introduce compulsory insurance,” Green MP Lea Heidbreder said.

The report of a working group of the conference of justice ministers on natural hazard insurance is expected in the summer. They said they wanted to wait and see the results.

It is basic damage insurance. Homeowners can use it to insure against damage caused by natural events, for example heavy rain, flooding and flood disasters like in the Ahr Valley last summer. This is voluntary insurance.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, relatively few owners use this option. In April 2021, it was 37 percent. In the meantime, it should be a little more, because the demand for such insurance increased after the flood disaster. Many affected homeowners in the Ahr Valley were also uninsured against floods and heavy rains. Therefore, they depend on government aid and donations.


Destroyed building after the flood disaster in the Ahr Valley.  (Photo: dpa Bildfunk, Picture Alliance)

Reconstruction is underway in the areas of Rhineland-Palatinate that were destroyed by the flood disaster. Many of those affected have been living in emergency shelters for months. Here is the current situation.

What exactly does the CDU opposition demand?

The CDU parliamentary group wants many more homeowners in the country to take out this insurance against natural risks, at least four out of five. The group’s leader, Christian Baldauf, told the state parliament session: “By December 31, 2024, we want to achieve an 80 percent insurance rate for natural risks in Rhineland-Palatinate.”

The parliamentary group’s motion also states: The goal should be to give all citizens the opportunity to take out affordable insurance against natural risks. If the 80 percent target is not reached by the end of 2024, the introduction of compulsory insurance from 2025 should be considered, says Baldauf.

What would that mean for the individual?

Anyone who wants to insure their residential building in the future should only offer insurance that includes protection against natural hazards. According to the CDU request, the state parliament should ask the insurance industry to only offer such home construction insurance. If you wish to waive storm damage protection, you must expressly state this when you purchase insurance. Consequently, the insured must accept that they will not receive any state support for reconstruction in the event of a disaster.


Damaged house in the Ahr Valley (Photo: dpa Bildfunk, Picture Alliance)

Following the July flood disaster, it is now being examined whether there should be compulsory natural hazard insurance for all homeowners. That was decided by the justice ministers of the federal states.

The Rhineland-Palatinate state government also sees a need for more homeowners to upgrade their insurance coverage. Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD) had already spoken out at the end of August in favor of compulsory natural hazard insurance: after the flood disaster, there was no longer any argument against natural hazard insurance for all homeowners, Lewentz said. Justice Minister Herbert Mertin (FDP), on the other hand, considers compulsory insurance to be constitutionally problematic, among other things: “It would transfer the risk of life from a definable sector of the population to the entire community of insured persons.”

The insurance industry is against compulsory insurance. But he is also of the opinion that residential building insurance should always include protection against future flooding and heavy rain. The General Association of the German Insurance Industry (GDV) proposed this last year. “We cannot accept that every second home lacks insurance protection against weather damage,” says the GDV.

Therefore, existing contracts must be supplemented and new contracts must only be offered with elementary protection. That would introduce new standards for insurance, but it would not mean compulsory insurance. But insurers need the legislator’s approval to do so. According to estimates from consumer advocates, this would cost most homeowners an extra $100 a year.


Jörg Kachelmann, Swiss meteorologist and managing director of Kachelmann GmbH, participates in the meeting of the investigation committee of the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament on the flood disaster in the plenary session hall.  (Photo: dpa Bildfunk, picture alliance/dpa | Arne Dedert)

The extent of the impending flood catastrophe in the Ahr valley should have been made clear to the responsible authorities in time. Several meteorological experts, including Jörg Kachelmann, made this clear in the investigation committee of the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament.

SWR News Rhineland-Palatinate


What is it like in other states?

By far the highest natural hazard insurance rate is in Baden-Württemberg. As of 2021, 94 percent of buildings were fully insured against natural hazards. Background: Until 1994, homeowners in Baden-Württemberg were required to insure against flooding, flooding and torrential rain. Bremen is at the bottom of this type of insurance. Rhineland-Palatinate is in the center of the lower field. Almost half of the buildings in the entire country are insured against natural hazards such as floods and high tides.

how is the topic going

The justice ministers of the federal states recently decided to check whether there should be compulsory natural hazard insurance for all homeowners. A working group is expected to present results in this regard by June.

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