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July Catastrophes: China Floods, While the U.S. Sustains Drought

Source: BestWire

Posted on 08 Aug 2012 by Neilson

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China heavy rainsWhile heavy rains flooded parts of China, portions of the United States sustained the worst drought conditions in decades, according to a July roundup of global catastrophic weather by Impact Forecasting, an arm of insurance broker Aon.

Heavy rainfall in China spawned flooding and landslides in nearly two dozen provinces, leading to 324 deaths, at least 475,000 homes destroyed or damaged and more than 4.1 million acres of cropland affected, Aon reported citing information from Chinese officials. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission said 47,000 claims were filed with payouts in excess of 1 billion yuan ($157 million).

Aon said much of China, including parts of Beijing, in July experienced its heaviest rains in six decades.

"On the opposite extreme, much of the U.S. continued to face its worst drought in several decades," Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, said in a written statement. "Both weather events have impacted crops and the agriculture industry."

In the United States, at least 4,313 record high temperatures were set during the month. The heat also left more than 100 people dead. About 64% of the contiguous U.S. was listed in at least a moderate drought, Aon said, citing the National Climatic Data Center. Total insured crop losses were anticipated to reach well into the billions of dollars.

Munich Re said it is currently anticipating a net loss of about 160 million euros ($198.5 million) worth of crop failure covers because of the drought.

The United States in July was also hit by a three-day stretch early in the month that saw rounds of severe thunderstorms affect parts of the Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast. Various insurers received more than 50,000 claims with payouts in excess of $275 million.

Severe weather was also recorded across central and western Europe, where tornadoes, damaging winds and egg-sized hail pummeled the Czech Republic, where insured losses were listed at 247 million koruna ($12 million), while insurers in Slovenia recorded more than 4 million euros in losses.