Aon’s April Catastrophe Report: Storms Deal Blow in U.S.; Floods Take 78 Lives in Africa

May 10, 2018

During April, five separate storm systems caused severe thunderstorms across the United States, the strongest of which affected the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast, with nearly 70 tornado touch-downs and up to baseball-sized hail that damaged residential and commercial property and vehicles.

The same system also led to anomalous snowfall in the Upper Midwest and New England, while dry conditions behind the storm caused major wildfires in the Plains, notably in Oklahoma, according to Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model team in its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap for April.

Africa floods damaged more than 10,000 homes, cost 78 lives and $350m loss in Kenya alone, according to the report.

Impact Forecasting estimates that the total combined economic losses from storm-related damage in the U.S. during April were $2.3 billion, with public and private insurers expected to pay at least $1.5 billion in claims.

Other natural disaster events to have occurred elsewhere during April include:

  • Persistent flooding in Kenya killed at least 78 people, and caused extensive water damage to homes, cropland, and infrastructure. Regional governments indicated that total economic damage would near KES35 billion (USD350 million), including KES20 billion (USD200 million) alone to infrastructure.
  • Further flooding and casualties were noted in the African nations of Somalia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Rwanda, damaging more than 10,000 homes.
  • Extended cold and snow in China affected nearly 623,900 hectares (1.54 million acres) of cropland. Total economic losses were estimated at CNY9.38 billion (USD1.5 billion), primarily to the agricultural sector.
  • Winter weather in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec resulted in total combined economic losses in excess of USD360 million, with insurance losses expect to exceed USD180 million.
  • Torrential rainfall over the Hawaiian Islands led to widespread flooding, with at least 532 homes damaged or destroyed. The state government allocated at least USD125 million to flood repairs.
  • Tropical Cyclones Josie and Keni impacted the Fijian islands. Combined damage to physical property, agriculture and infrastructure was estimated at more than USD10 million.

Michal Lorinc, an analyst within Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight team, highlighted the impact of the thunderstorm peril in Europe. “As in the U.S., hail has been particularly damaging to European residential and commercial property, as well as vehicles, with several historical events prompting insurance payouts in excess of a billion euros,” he noted, adding that Impact Forecasting will soon release a hail model that includes coverage for several European countries.

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