The insurance industry could potentially face a E3.5 billion payout after Europe was hit by the deadly winter storm Kyrill, which resulted in 47 deaths across Europe, according to insurer Swiss Re.

Based on preliminary estimates, Swiss Re stated that claims for the European storm could amount to a total of E3.5 billion but asserted that its insurance firm will only face an estimated E140 million payout before tax.

The two-day storm which first hit Ireland and the UK on January 18, 2007, and then moved towards Continental Europe, reaching as far as Ukraine, caused chaos with widespread damage and flooding. The hurricane winds also disrupted flights and rail services, with many being cancelled to ensure passenger safety.

According to the BBC, meteorologists recorded the worst gale force winds in Britain for 17 years. Swiss Re also noted that the last major storm was Lothar in 1999, which caused damages amounting to E5.5 billion, but severe weather warnings helped reduce fatalities this time round.