Impact Forecasting: Costs of Tropical Cyclones Up for Non-U.S. Exposures

November 6, 2014

Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe model development center of excellence at Aon Benfield, released the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during October 2014.

During the month, Cyclone Hudhud killed 68 people across four states in India with economic losses tentatively estimated at INR700 billion ($11 billion) with insurance losses forecast to reach INR40 billion ($650 million). The weakened cyclone later struck Nepal, causing avalanches and blizzards that killed 43 people.

Hudhud became the second event in as many months to cost the Indian insurance industry more than INR40 billion ($650 million), as commercial, residential and agricultural lines of business were heavily affected.

Meanwhile, Japan was struck twice in one week by weakened super Typhoons Phanfone and Vongfong. Phanfone made landfall in Shizuoka Prefecture, killing at least 11 people and causing widespread flash flooding and landslides, while Vongfong resulted in six deaths and caused some structural damage. Preliminary aggregated economic losses from Phanfone and Vongfong were forecast at JPY22.5 billion ($200 million).

As of November 1, the U.S. had gone a record 3,295 consecutive days without a major hurricane landfall (Category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).

“With one month remaining in the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the United States is close to completing another year without a significant landfalling hurricane event,” according to Steve Bowen, associate director at Impact Forecasting.

“However, insurers in Asia are coping with a series of cyclones that have led to considerable damage across the western North Pacific and North Indian basins – most notably in India and Japan,” he said. “The past two years of cyclone landfalls in Asia, including such storms as Fitow, Haiyan, Hudhud, Phalin, and Rammasun, have shown that tropical cyclones are becoming an increasingly costly peril for insurers with exposures outside of the U.S.”

Elsewhere during October, Bermuda was affected twice in less than a week by tropical systems Hurricane Fay and Hurricane Gonzalo, with insurers reporting lower-than-forecast losses of around $100 million from the events.

Gonzalo initially tracked through the Lesser Antilles, where four people were killed. The storm’s remnants later affected Europe as three people were killed following strong winds, torrential rain, and heavy snowfall in western, central, and southern portions of the continent. Damages in Netherlands, Germany, and Slovenia were expected to reach EUR33 million ($42 million).

Stretches of severe weather affected the central and eastern U.S. during in the first half of the month, killing two people as straight-line winds, hail and isolated tornadoes caused widespread property damage. An autumn storm that formed from the remnants of Hurricane Ana brought high winds and heavy rains to the Pacific Northwest, killing two people and causing economic damages of $12 million.

Tropical Storm Trudy made landfall in Mexico, damaging nearly 10,000 homes and killing six people, while flood events killed 36 people in Central America and up to 100 people in Congo, and a lightning storm killed 11 residents in Colombia.

A magnitude-6.0 earthquake struck China, killing one person and causing $278 million in damages. And monsoon rains triggered a large landslide in central Sri Lanka that killed at least 38 people.

Source: Aon plc

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