Hurricane Barry Cost Economy $600M, Insurers $300M: Aon Catastrophe Report

Total economic losses, largely flood-driven, were expected to exceed US$600 million, while public and private insurers paid out nearly US$300 million, said Aon in its latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events.

Hurricane Barry made landfall in Louisiana during July, establishing a new state record for the highest hurricane-induced rainfall of 16.59 inches in Arkansas, the report said, noting that five states have now set new hurricane-related rainfall records since 2017 alone: Texas, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arkansas.

The Category 1 storm came ashore near Intracoastal City, La. before quickly weakening, the report added. The storm’s remnants later led to flood and thunderstorm damage across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Southern Asia Flooding

Turning to other global events during July, Aon said that monsoonal flooding across Southern Asia killed hundreds, flooding an estimated 600,000 homes in Bangladesh. These floods incurred a notable economic loss.

According to reports, more than 467 people have been killed this season in India and many thousands of acres of cropland were destroyed. The states of Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh were among the worst affected. Economic losses were expected to reach well into millions of U.S. dollars with significant costs to agriculture and infrastructure.

European Heatwave

Another record-breaking heatwave hit multiple European countries at the end of July, a month after the first wave of record heat in June. Five countries recorded all-time national highs – Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and United Kingdom. Extreme heat, coupled with relatively low rainfall in some regions, caused notable health impacts and likely affected multiple economic sectors.

“The summer of 2019 has thus far highlighted several meteorological and climatological hazards across the Northern Hemisphere and further exposed humanitarian vulnerabilities,” said Steve Bowen, Meteorologist and head of Catastrophe Insight within Aon’s Impact Forecasting team.

“Parts of Europe and the Arctic have endured record-breaking heat which has resulted in an accelerated seasonal decline of polar sea ice, exacerbated wildfires and enhanced drought conditions,” he said. “At the same time, seasonal flooding across Asia has affected millions of people.”

He said issue of climate resilience becomes even more important, “as we continue to face further population and exposure growth in regions, which are among the most at-risk as climate conditions evolve…”

The report detailed other natural catastrophe events that occurred elsewhere during July including:

Source: Aon

Photograph: In this July 13, 2019 photo Aimee Cutter, the owner of Beach House restaurant, walks through water surge from Lake Pontchartrain on Lakeshore Drive in Mandeville, La., ahead of Tropical Storm Barry. Photographer: Matthew Hinton/AP).