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Aon Benfield Report: Flood Events Main Contributor to Global Nat Cat Losses in May

Posted on 04 Jun 2010

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Aon Benfield, a premier reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor, on Thursday releases its latest Monthly Cat Recap report, which provides an analysis of global perils in May.

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 major global flood events, which caused extensive loss of life, dwellings and infrastructure.

At least 32 people died and dozens were injured when severe weather events including tornadoes, hail and heavy rainfall struck the Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys in the United States at the beginning of the month. Total economic loss from both the flood and tornado events across Mississippi and Kentucky was forecast to exceed USD3bn, while combined insured losses may reach USD1.5bn, with insurers registering more than 70,000 flood and severe weather claims.

Further tornado damage was recorded in the states of Arkansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin, as well as in the Ohio Valley, the Northeast, southern Kansas, central and eastern Oklahoma and several central states.

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: “Tornadoes and associated weather events such as hail and heavy rainfall were a major cause of disruption for many states across the U.S. during May. Hundreds of tornadoes were reported across a wide area, including 42 in Kansas and Oklahoma alone, and many more in the central territories. Relatively high insurance penetration in some of these regions means that insurers face a substantial payout for the damage incurred.”

The Recap report highlights that flood damage was also prevalent in Central Europe, with heavy rainfall affecting Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Serbia between May 12-28, and at least 22 people were killed in flood-related accidents and thousands of residents were evacuated from their homes.

Southern Poland was the worst affected by the rainfall, and insurers there received 15,500 flood claims totaling at least EUR41m (USD50m) amid a total economic loss estimated to be greater than EUR2.44bn (USD3bn). Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic more than 20,000 insurance claims were filed resulting in insured losses of more than CZK2.06bn (USD100m) and an economic loss of more than CZK4bn (USD200m).

Meanwhile, in China, consecutive weeks of heavy rain across southern provinces resulted in at least 115 deaths and at least 80,000 homes damaged or destroyed. The extensive damage was estimated to have caused an economic loss of CNY15.25bn (USD2.23bn) and more than CNY130m (USD20m) in vehicle insurance payouts following the filing of more than 15,000 claims.

A violent thunderstorm in Chongqing Municipality early in the month killed at least 31 people and injured 190 others, and damaged or destroyed 10,980 homes and buildings, while a tornado struck Heilongjiang Province killing at least seven people and injuring 98 others. In India, strong thunderstorms in the eastern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh killed at least 54 people while causing extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure.