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Aon Benfield's Monthly Cat Report Highlights Cold Weather and Floods

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Posted on 06 Dec 2010

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 natural perils in November.

Published by the company’s Impact Forecasting team, who evaluate global natural hazards for the re/insurance industry, the report highlights that the first winter weather event of the season occurred across Europe and had notable affects. Heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures left 40 people dead across parts of the UK, Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Russia, Albania, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, the Czech Republic and the Balkans. The event created travel chaos and caused an estimated economic loss of at least USD2 billion in Britain alone due to productivity interruption.

Also in Europe, heavy rains in parts of France and Belgium led to floods that killed at least five people. Belgium’s Hainaut and Brabant provinces were worst affected, with Belgian officials declaring the floods the worst in 50 years.

Later in the month, a separate flood event inundated Britain’s Cornwall region and more than 1,000 homes, businesses, schools and bridges were damaged. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), total insured losses were GBP10 million (USD15.5 million), and total economic losses were in excess of GBP16 million (USD25 million).

The United States also experienced its first winter storms of the season, with the Northeast, Upper Midwest, Pacific Northwest and the Rockies all being affected by heavy snows and gusty winds.

Severe thunderstorms in association with the storm systems also caused tornado damage across the Southeast, Great Lakes and the Mid-Atlantic States. Total economic losses were in excess of USD100 million, with insured losses expected to top USD25 million.

Meanwhile, after passing through the Windward Islands, Hurricane Tomas crossed parts of Hispaniola and Cuba, killing 55 people from the end of October through the first week of November. Total economic losses from Tomas in St. Lucia, the Leeward Antilles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti were listed at USD588 million.

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: “While the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season has officially come to an end and the United States did not see a landfalling hurricane for the second consecutive year, the season will go down historically as the third-most active on record. Hurricane Tomas’ effects in the Caribbean and the USD12.8 million in payouts following the event by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) further show the heightened importance of insurance and re/insurance in today’s marketplace.”

Flooding and landslides continued to inundate parts of South America in November, including in Venezuela, Peru and Colombia. In Venezuela, the worst floods in 40 years affected the states of Vargas, Miranda and the Capital District, killing at least 31 people.

The rains destroyed over 56,000 homes and submerged large swaths of agricultural crops, airports, roads and bridges and forced the shutdown of several oil refineries.

In Asia, Cyclone Jal made landfall just north of Chennai, India and submerged at least 214,486 homes, nearly 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) of roads and over 350,000 hectares (864,868 acres) of agricultural land. Jal left at least 54 people dead and caused total economic losses of INR10 billion (USD224 million).

Flash flooding also left significant damage in parts of Thailand, India and Vietnam. In India and Thailand alone, combined economic losses from separate flood events totaled USD1.72 billion. Over 530,000 homes were destroyed along with wide swaths of crops and transportation infrastructure.

In Oceania, record rains fell across parts of the city of Melbourne in Australia – prompting several rivers to reach and surpass flood stage. The Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) reported having received over 1,000 damage reports primarily due to flooding and fallen trees.


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