Only 1 in 6 homes is insured

Most properties are not covered against natural disasters, with the state bearing the cost

Only 1 in 6 homes is insured

Although Greece ranks among the most earthquake-prone regions in the world, it is largely uninsured against risks such as earthquakes and floods, but also in general against natural disasters that have intensified due to climate change, such as fires and heatwaves.

According to data from the Association of Insurance Companies of Greece, despite the very high rate of owner-occupation in Greece (70%), insured homes number only around 1 million and represent just 16% of the total number of buildings, which according to data from ELSTAT is about 6.5 million throughout the country.

That is one of the lowest rates in Europe and coupled with the fact that Greece is the European Union member with the highest economic losses per inhabitant (almost three times higher than the EU average) in disaster costs related to the climate, it becomes clear how unprepared this country is for the increasing risk of natural disasters.

According to Eurostat data, the damage from heatwaves, floods and storms in 2020 in Greece cost 91 euros per inhabitant, compared to €27 per inhabitant in the EU, with France following with €62 euros and Ireland with €42.

Unlike other European countries that are plagued mainly by heatwaves or floods and have established compulsory insurance for their buildings, Greece is a long way from the compulsory insurance model, despite the fact that it pools all risks – and earthquakes are the most unpredictable threat.

The increase and intensity of these phenomena have even led to an excessive burden on the state budget to cover compensation, the amount of which is disproportionately large compared to the costs borne by insurance companies. According to estimates, the damages declared to insurance companies represent only 15% of the damages recorded by the competent state bodies and the statement made in the recent past by Minister of Climate Change Christos Stylianides, that “the burden on the state to cover the cost of compensation for two catastrophic phenomena, such as the earthquake in Crete in 2020 and the fires in Evia in 2021, amounts to €500 million.”

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