U.S. Weather in March to Cost Insurers More than $2 Billion: Aon

Four severe weather outbreaks in the U.S. throughout March led to extensive damage in the central and eastern parts of the country, costing the insurance industry in excess of US$2.0 billion, according to a report published by Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team.

The worst outbreak from March 6-10 resulted in major damage from tornadoes, large hail and straight-line winds in the Plains, Midwest and Southeast, said Impact Forecasting’s “Global Catastrophe Recap – March 2017” report. Total economic losses for this event alone were estimated at US$1.7 billion, while public and private insurance claims were listed at US$1.2 billion.

Through the first quarter of 2017, the U.S. has seen above-average numbers of storm reports, said the report.

Meanwhile, Cyclone Debbie made landfall in Australia, leading to flooding that killed 10 people in southeastern Queensland and northern New South Wales, said Impact Forecasting. The Insurance Council of Australia declared an insurance catastrophe following extensive wind and flood damage, and preliminary data indicated that 35,370 claims had been initially filed, with insurance payouts exceeding US$310 million. These totals were expected to rise, and the overall economic cost is forecast to be even higher.

“There was no shortage of significant natural disasters in March, and while re/insurers’ focus was largely on the events in the United States and Australia, there were other major occurrences in emerging areas for the industry,” said Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting director and meteorologist.

For instance, he added, the phenomenon known as a “coastal El Niño” was blamed on catastrophic flooding in both Peru and Colombia, “highlighting that there remain areas around the world where insurance can play a critical role in helping people in the aftermath of a disaster.”

Impact Forecasting went on to list other natural hazard events that occurred worldwide during March:

Source: Impact Forecasting/Aon Benfield

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The full Impact Forecasting report is available on Aon’s website.

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