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Aon Benfield: Floods and Severe Weather Events Dominate June Natural Catastrophe News

Posted on 06 Jul 2010

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Aon Benfield, the world's premier reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor, today releases its latest Monthly Cat Recap report, which provides an analysis of global perils in June. 
Published by the Impact Forecasting team, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development center of excellence, the report reveals that the month was dominated by several floods and severe weather events which impacted China, Brazil, the U.S. and parts of Central Europe.

In the U.S., parts of Texas, Nebraska and Iowa reported hail and flood damage with insurers reporting at least 25,000 claims filed totaling USD100 million and total economic losses were estimated at USD250 million.  Meanwhile, severe weather and tornado damage occurred across the Midwest and the Ohio Valley, including Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana, killing at least seven people.  The Cat Recap report highlights that according to insurers, at least 20,000 claims were filed totaling USD100 million and total economic losses were estimated at USD250 million. 

In North America, natural hazard activity in June included a storm system that brought severe weather to parts of Canada.  Nearly a dozen states of emergency were declared as 500 homes and businesses were flooded.  The extensive damage was estimated to have caused an economic loss of CAN66 million (USD64 million).  The 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season begun with Hurricane Alex making landfalls in Belize and Mexico late in the month.  Hurricane Alex, the earliest landfalling Category 2 hurricane since 1966, made landfall on the 30th with 105 mph (165 kph) sustained winds and flooding rains.  One person was killed due to Hurricane Alex’s winds and rains.

In South America, excessive rains fell across northeastern sections of Brazil that triggered flooding and mudslides, resulting in at least 57 fatalities.  The hardest hit states were Pernambuco and Alagoas.  The Brazilian government reported that at least BRL1.55 billion (USD860 million) in economic damage had occurred due to the heavy rainfall.

In Central Europe, heavy rainfall returned to parts of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia.  The Cat Recap states that thousands of people were evacuated in each country as rivers rose.  Poland’s prime minister estimated that total Polish economic losses from the heavy rains would approach EUR961 million (USD1.14 billion) and in Hungary, economic losses to the country’s agricultural sector were listed at EUR300 million (USD366 million).  Meanwhile, in France storms caused major flooding along the country’s Mediterranean coast that killed at least 25 people and which resulted in over 45,000 claims being filed, totaling EUR700 million (USD866 million).  The Cat Recap report also highlights that nearly eight straight days of heavy rains led to flash floods and river flooding across Romania and the Ukraine.  At least 22 people were killed in Romania and the estimated total economic losses from the floods could amount to more than 0.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. 

In Asia, two weeks of torrential rains triggered extreme flash floods and landslides throughout southern China.  Also during the month, Cyclone Phet made landfalls in Oman and Pakistan, leaving at least 39 people dead.  Economic losses from the Oman event were expected to top OMR300 million (USD776 million) and local insurers reported that claims payouts were OMR77 million (USD200 million).

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: “Hurricane Alex is a wake-up call about being prepared for this season’s tropical activity.  The fact that June produced a landfalling Category 2 hurricane, the strongest since 1966, is a testament to the conditions that are in the ocean basins, especially with regard to sea surface temperatures.  Insurers and reinsurers need to be vigilant for what could be a busy hurricane season in the Atlantic.”