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Last Updated: Friday, 26 January 2007, 09:59 GMT
Insurers 'face 2bn storm payout'
German house destroyed by winter storm Kyrill
The storm Kyrill left a wave of destruction in its wake
Insurers could be facing a multi-billion pound bill in the wake of deadly storms that swept across Europe.

Insurance firm Swiss Re said that the cost of the storms could be as high as 2.3bn ($4.5bn; 3.5bn euros).

Winter storm Kyrill - which hit Europe on 18 January, lashing the region with hurricane force winds - led to 47 deaths across Europe, 13 in the UK.

The two-day storm caused widespread damage, flooding and power disruptions as far away as the Ukraine.

Travellers also faced chaos as flights and rail services were cancelled across the UK and Europe.

Severe weather

During the two-day storm, meteorologists said the winds reached severe gale force in Britain and were the strongest there since January 1990.

They hit hurricane force in Germany, the worst in nearly a decade.

Swiss Re added that despite Kyrill covering a wider area than the last major storm to hit the area in 1999, fatalities were limited thanks to advance warnings of severe weather conditions.

The 1999 storm eventually cost the insurance industry 5.5bn euros, Swiss Re added.

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