Spate of storms and flooding results in $3.5 billion loss to US economy


CHICAGO, IL – Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, today launches the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during March 2016.

The report reveals that seven severe U.S. convective storm events impacted nearly every part of the country during the month, as more than 1,000 individual reports of tornadoes, damaging straight-line winds and hail were recorded by the Storm Prediction Center. The Insurance Council of Texas estimated insured losses for the state alone at above USD1.1 billion, following more than 125,000 home and auto claim filings over several weeks.

Overall economic losses sustained to property, infrastructure and agriculture across the U.S. from the convective storm and flood damage were anticipated to approach USD3.5 billion, while insured losses incurred by public and private insurance entities were tentatively estimated at USD2.0 billion.

Meanwhile, the most damaging severe thunderstorm and flood event in at least a decade impacted the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman in March. UAE local insurers anticipated claims to reach AED500 million (USD140 million), with total economic losses forecast to be well into the hundreds of millions (USD).

Adam Podlaha, Head of Impact Forecasting, said: “The March heavy rain and flood event in the Middle East is a reminder of the risks that these types of perils can bring to areas with an arid climate. Impact Forecasting has been successful in recent years in developing modeled solutions for non-traditional perils, including perils like flood in the Persian Gulf region. With increasing exposures in emerging parts of the world, it becomes even more important to expand catastrophe model capabilities into these new territories. Impact Forecasting remains at the forefront of this forward thinking.”

Natural hazard events to have occurred elsewhere during the month include:

• Thunderstorm and heavy rain events impacted central and eastern sections of China, leading The Ministry of Civil Affairs to report aggregated economic losses of CNY3.7 billion (USD570 million).

• Windstorm Jeanne, known locally as Katie caused hurricane-force winds and flooding in northern Europe, killing at least one person. Total economic and insured losses are expected to exceed USD100 million.

• Intensifying drought conditions in India caused major crop damage. The National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) recently allocated INR40 billion (USD600 million) for seven hard-hit states: Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Nagaland.

• A Canada winter storm system brought accumulating snow, ice and freezing rain to portions of Ontario and Quebec, causing widespread damage. Total economic losses were estimated to approach CAD130 million (USD100 million), while insurers anticipated losses well into the tens of millions (USD).