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Aon Benfield Study: Two Months of Severe Weather Brings An Estimated $15.5 Billion in Insured Losses

Posted on 23 Jun 2011

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Aon Benfield, the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon Corporation on Wednesday released its analysis of the severe weather events to impact the U.S. during the months of April and May this year, revealing that insured losses during the two-month period alone reached an estimated $15.5 billion – nearly three times the 1990-2010 annual average for severe weather losses.

Published by Impact Forecasting, the firm’s catastrophe model development center of excellence, the United States April and May 2011 SevereWeather Outbreaks report also shows that economic losses during the same period were estimated at $21.65bn.

The report examines the active stretch of severe weather that occurred across areas east of the Rocky Mountains, where at least eight separate timeframes saw widespread severe weather activity – including five separate outbreaks with losses in excess of one billion dollars (USD).

Of the eight timeframes examined in this report, the two most notable stretches occurred between April 22-28 and May 21-27.

The late-April period witnessed the largest tornado outbreak in world history, comprising 334 separate tornado touchdowns which led to catastrophic damage throughout the Southeast and the Tennessee Valley. The city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was directly impacted by a high-end EF-4 tornado that caused huge devastation, and at least three EF-5 tornadoes, the strongest grade of tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, touched down during this outbreak.

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: “”The late-May stretch was highlighted by an outbreak that spawned a massive EF-5 tornado that destroyed a large section of Joplin, Missouri. The tornado led to 154 fatalities in the city, becoming the deadliest singular tornadic event since the

National Weather Service officially began keeping records in 1950. In addition, it is worth noting that the Tuscaloosa and Joplin events will go down as two of the costliest singular tornadoes ever recorded.”

As of mid-June 2011, at least $15.5 billion in U.S. severe weather insured losses had been recorded since the start of the year – 303 percent above the 1990-2010 annual average of $5.11 billion.

In addition to examining the outbreaks, the Aon Benfield study further analyzes potential reasons for the high number of tornado fatalities, and highlights some of the numerous records set during the early April to June 1 period. It also provides historical information regarding U.S. tornado statistics, including fatalities, number of tornado touchdowns and the costliest tornadoes on record.