Following the failure of talks between the federal and state governments on compulsory flood insurance, the debate on better protection against natural hazards continues.

The federal government and the minister presidents of the 16 federal states were unable to agree on even a minimal compromise on Thursday because the heads of the federal states insisted on compulsory insurance. "We regret that the federal and state governments were unable to agree on a solution that would lead to more people insuring their property against extreme weather risks than before," said Jörg Asmussen, Managing Director of the GDV insurers' association, in Berlin on Friday. In the view of the industry, the obligation to offer insurance to all homeowners outlined by the Ministry of Justice would have been "an acceptable compromise".

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) also urged a swift solution: "It is crucial that a solution based on solidarity is found quickly that does not overburden either tenants or homeowners financially." However, especially in areas at risk of flooding, risk-based premiums in the four-digit range could become due - or costly protective measures for cellars and houses. This could only be offset by state subsidies. By increasing insurance coverage, politicians actually want to prevent the state from automatically being called upon to help those affected financially in the event of flooding.

Lemke explained that with the Climate Adaptation Act, which comes into force on July 1, the consequences of climate change must be taken into account in planning anyway. The Ministry of the Environment is also working with the federal states on an improved flood protection law. The federal states could also decide on compulsory insurance against natural hazards such as flooding, heavy rain and snow on their own initiative, but none of the 16 states have yet made any progress. So far, there are only a few compulsory insurance policies in Germany: for car owners, dog owners, hunters and one for professions such as doctors, pharmacists and architects.

Following the meeting with Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Hesse's Minister President Boris Rhein (CDU) once again rejected the proposal by Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann. "Voluntariness will not solve the problem. We continue to believe that compulsory insurance is the right approach." The insurance rate, which according to industry figures is currently 54%, is only increasing by one to two percent per year despite disasters such as the one in the Ahr valley. "That's not enough and it's clearly too slow," said Rhein. There are now to be further talks at working level. "We won't put anything on the back burner," said Scholz.

Buschmann had once again campaigned for the obligation to offer in front of the minister presidents: For new contracts, companies should include natural hazards such as flooding and snow pressure in the insurance policy, but customers could decline the protection. For existing policies, homeowners should be expressly informed that they do not have this insurance cover. Insurers believe that this could increase the coverage rate to 75 to 80 percent.

At a meeting with consumer advocates, Johannes Fechner, Parliamentary Secretary of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, once again spoke out in favor of the semi-governmental French model for natural disaster cover. "In Germany, we don't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to difficult issues. And in France, we have a functioning system that allows citizens to insure themselves against natural disasters at low cost," the Center for European Consumer Protection (ZEV) in Kehl quoted him as saying. He had little understanding for the Minister of Justice's resistance. However, insurers also consider the French solution to be impractical. Moreover, it offers little incentive to protect one's own home against natural hazards.

(Report by Alexander Hübner, edited by Jörn Poltz; if you have any queries, please contact our editorial team at (for politics and the economy) or (for companies and markets)).