Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe model development center of excellence at Aon Benfield, has issued its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report for December 2013. It highlights the impact on Europe of a series of windstorms during the month, including Windstorm Xaver, which moved through the north of the continent killing at least 15 people and producing insured losses of around €800 million ($1.1 billion), with Scotland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia, and Poland the most affected.
Another windstorm, Dirk, brought strong winds and heavy rain to Western and Northern Europe, killing at least six people and resulting in a total insured loss of around €360 million ($500 million). Damage was greatest in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Poland, while areas of Scandinavia were also affected.
The report notes that combined economic losses from Xaver and Dirk were forecast to be at least $2.25 billion.
Adam Podlaha, Head of Impact Forecasting, said: “The clustered pattern of windstorms seen across western and northern Europe in December has emphasized the importance of being able to capture this phenomenon in catastrophe models. Impact Forecasting’s new European windstorm model replicates such clustering patterns by using a realistic sequence of storms originating directly from highly advanced global climate models.”
Elsewhere during December, stretches of inclement winter weather also affected North America as a broad storm system swept across the entire United States killing at least 18 people and resulting in total economic losses in excess of $100 million. Insured losses in Texas alone were listed at $30 million.
Another major winter storm brought heavy snow, freezing rain and ice to the central and eastern U.S. as well as eastern Canada, killing a total of 29 people. Total economic and insured losses for the U.S. and Canada were separately listed as reaching hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars.
Meanwhile, one of the strongest winter storms in years impacted the Middle East in December, killing at least 10 people and producing total combined economic losses of around $500 million. Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, and Cyprus were all affected.
Some of the worst flooding in 90 years affected parts of southeastern Brazil, killing at least 48 people. The Brazilian government allocated BRL3.2 billion ($1.4 billion) for flood recovery, with the hardest-hit areas including the states of Espiritu Santo and Minas Gerais.
Heavy snow and rain affected China’s provincial regions of Hainan, Yunnan and Sichuan, leaving 90,000 people homeless. Total economic losses were listed at CNY2.5 billion ($410 million).
Seasonal monsoon rains resulted in floods across eastern Malaysia, killing at least four people and resulting in total economic losses estimated at millions of U.S. dollars with more than 75,000 people evacuated.
The full Impact Forecasting December 2013 Global Catastrophe Recap report is available.
Source: Aon Benfield/Impact Forecasting