General Insurance Article - Severe weather results in billion dollar hit to insurers

Aon has launched the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of natural disaster events worldwide during March 2021.

 The report reveals that multiple severe weather outbreaks in the United States, including tornadoes, hail, and flooding, resulted in billion-dollar insurance losses. Impact Forecasting® summarizes publicly available information which we share on request and to build the reliability of our products.

 The most notable outbreaks – March 22-23, 24-26, and 27-28 – included severe weather across the Central and Southern U.S. A preliminary confirmed total of 122 tornadoes touched down during the month, and at least seven people were killed from tornadic events. Five of the 122 tornadoes were rated EF3 (four) or EF4 (one).

 The severe weather was most damaging across parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee. Beyond the impacts from tornadoes, there were hundreds of reports of large hail and damaging straight-line winds that resulted in extensive property damage. The storms also prompted significant flooding in parts of the Tennessee Valley. At least seven reported fatalities in Tennessee alone, including some in the greater Nashville metro region, after numerous river locations swelled beyond their banks.

 The total U.S. economic cost from March severe convective storms and flooding was anticipated to approach $2 billion. Public and private insurers were likely to see losses top $1 billion.

 Meanwhile, Windstorms Klaus and Luis affected parts of Western and Central Europe on March 10-13 with strong winds. Both storms caused moderate losses, with notable impacts in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, northern France and the United Kingdom. Local insurers were faced with tens of thousands of claims.

 Michal Lörinc, senior catastrophe analyst for Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, said: “As we transition to the Northern Hemisphere spring months, this is typically a period where focus shifts to the severe convective storm season. However, March is still a time where notable windstorms can affect Europe, and 2021 saw a quick succession of storms Klaus and Luis that left moderate physical damage impacts. While the 2020/21 European windstorm season was not abnormally costly, it remains a peril worth closely monitoring. Impact Forecasting continues deliver quantified real-time EU windstorm risk to clients through its Automated Event Response solution.”

 Further natural hazard events that occurred worldwide in March include:
 • A series of frontal systems and an East Coast Low led to extensive flooding across parts of eastern Australia from March 10-24, killing at least two people. The event resulted in widespread inundation to thousands of properties and swaths of infrastructure and agriculture in New South Wales and Queensland. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) declared an insurance catastrophe. Approximately 36,000 claims were filed, with an estimated insured loss of AUD537 million ($410 million). The overall economic loss is expected to approach $2 billion.
 • Persistent seasonal rains and severe weather continued to impact portions of western Colombia throughout the month. At least 53 weather-related fatalities have occurred since January 1. A public calamity was declared in the Valle del Cauca Department due to damage to roadways, homes and crops.
 • Heavy rain affected northwestern Algeria (particularly Chlef Province) on March 6, causing flash floods that resulted in casualties and damage. More than 500 families have been affected. Local media reported that 10 people were left dead or missing.
 • Severe sand and dust storm conditions affected wide swaths of Mongolia and China from March 12-16. At least 21 people were left dead or missing, millions of livestock were killed and hundreds of yurts were destroyed in Mongolia.

 To view the full Impact Forecasting March 2021 Global Catastrophe Recap report

 Along with the report, users can access current and historical natural catastrophe data and event analysis on Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight website, which is updated bi-monthly as new data becomes available:

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