Aon Benfield Cat Report for November Highlights Cold and Floods

In its latest monthly assessment of the world’s catastrophes for November Aon Benfield highlights the first winter weather event of the season across Europe with “notable affects.”

the report, published by the company’s Impact Forecasting team, who evaluate global natural hazards for the re/insurance industry, states that “heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures left 40 people dead across parts of the UK, Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Russia, Albania, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, the Czech Republic and the Balkans. The event created travel chaos and caused an estimated economic loss of at least $2 billion in Britain alone due to productivity interruption.

“Also in Europe, heavy rains in parts of France and Belgium led to floods that killed at least five people. Belgium’s Hainaut and Brabant provinces were worst affected, with Belgian officials declaring the floods the worst in 50 years.

“Later in the month, a separate flood event inundated Britain’s Cornwall region and more than 1,000 homes, businesses, schools and bridges were damaged. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), total insured losses were £10 million ($15.5 million), and total economic losses were in excess of £16 million ($25 million).”

The Report also points out that the U.S. “experienced its first winter storms of the season, with the Northeast, Upper Midwest, Pacific Northwest and the Rockies all being affected by heavy snows and gusty winds.

“Severe thunderstorms in association with the storm systems also caused tornado damage across the Southeast, Great Lakes and the Mid-Atlantic States. Total economic losses were in excess of $100 million, with insured losses expected to top $25 million.

Late season Hurricane Tomas also caused a lot of damage. It passed through the Windward Islands, and then “crossed parts of Hispaniola and Cuba, killing 55 people from the end of October through the first week of November. Total economic losses from Tomas in St. Lucia, the Leeward Antilles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti were listed at $588 million.

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: “While the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season has officially come to an end and the United States did not see a land falling hurricane for the second consecutive year, the season will go down historically as the third-most active on record.

“Hurricane Tomas’ effects in the Caribbean and the $12.8 million in payouts following the event by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) further show the heightened importance of insurance and re/insurance in today’s marketplace.”

In addition Floods and landslides also hit parts of South America in November, notably in Venezuela, Peru and Colombia. “In Venezuela, the worst floods in 40 years affected the states of Vargas, Miranda and the Capital District, killing at least 31 people.

“The rains destroyed over 56,000 homes and submerged large swaths of agricultural crops, airports, roads and bridges and forced the shutdown of several oil refineries.

“In Asia, Cyclone Jal made landfall just north of Chennai, India and submerged at least 214,486 homes, nearly 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) of roads and over 350,000 hectares (864,868 acres) of agricultural land. Jal left at least 54 people dead and caused total economic losses of INR10 billion ($224 million).

“Flash flooding also left significant damage in parts of Thailand, India and Vietnam. In India and Thailand alone, combined economic losses from separate flood events totaled $1.72 billion. Over 530,000 homes were destroyed along with wide swaths of crops and transportation infrastructure.

“In Oceania, record rains fell across parts of the city of Melbourne in Australia – prompting several rivers to reach and surpass flood stage. The Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) reported having received over 1,000 damage reports primarily due to flooding and fallen trees.”

Source: Aon Benfield – Impact Forecasting