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U.S. Severe Weather Insurance Losses Approach $1 Billion in April


Posted on 04 May 2012

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TornadoesAon Benfield, the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc, on Thursday releases the latest edition of its Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during April.

Published by Impact Forecasting, the firm's catastrophe model development center of excellence, the report reveals that a series of severe weather events across central and southern sections of the United States caused upwards of $1 billion in insured losses. Economic losses were even higher.

During the month's most notable outbreak, multiple central states sustained widespread tornado, hail and wind damage. At least 94 tornado touchdowns were recorded during a 72-hour stretch. In Kansas, an EF-3 tornado just outside the city of Wichita affected at least 777 homes and 165 businesses. Additional tornado damage occurred in southwest Iowa and northwest Oklahoma, killing at least six people. Total insured losses from the outbreak were expected to reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, a severe weather outbreak in Texas, which comprised at least 21 tornadoes and widespread hail, damaged more than 1,100 homes alone in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth metro region. Total economic losses were estimated at approximately $1 billion, while various insurers received at least 105,000 claims with payouts in excess of $650 million.

In South America, at least 18 people were killed and 20 more were injured as severe weather struck the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, affecting at least 32,000 homes.

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: "While not as substantial as the historic 2011 season to this point in terms of overall losses, the 2012 severe weather season has certainly caused significant damage across portions of central and southern sections of the United States. Tornado frequency data dating to 1991 indicates that May is typically the most active tornado month of the year in the U.S., which is a warning to all residents and insurers to remain cognizant to potential storm threats."

Flooding was prevalent across South America during April, damaging at least 13,654 homes in Paraguay and killing at least 19 people in Colombia and Peru, where floods destroyed more than 25,000 homes.

In China, several events of hail and damaging winds affected six separate provinces during the month. The first event damaged more than 20,000 homes and caused a CNY750 million ($120 million) economic loss. The second event killed at least 12 people, damaged 25,400 homes and resulting in a CNY530 million ($84 million) economic loss.

In Vietnam, high winds and hail destroyed more than 4,780 homes in four northern provinces, killing at least two people, and causing a total economic loss estimated at VND104 billion ($5 million).

In Japan, a powerful spring storm system brought typhoon-strength winds across much of the country. At least four people died and 372 others were injured. More than 520,000 Tohoku Electric Power Company customers lost electricity, and transportation via air and rail was delayed or cancelled.

Typhoon Pakhar became the first landfalling cyclone of 2012 in the Northwest Pacific as it came ashore in southern Vietnam. At least two people were killed and nine others were injured as the storm damaged more than 5,000 homes and structures in addition to infrastructure and agriculture.


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