Asia Facing $8B Economic Loss Due to September Flooding: Aon Report

October 5, 2012

Of the more than $7.5 billion in economic losses recorded in Asia, China sustained much of that loss as two separate flood events affected several provinces, according to the latest edition of Aon Benfield’s Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during September.

Published by Impact Forecasting, the firm’s catastrophe model development center, the report reveals that seasonal monsoonal rains caused significant flooding across parts of Asia during the month. The most costly occurred during a six-day stretch, in which the Ministry of Civil Affairs confirmed economic losses of at least $4.92 billion across six provinces.

In Pakistan, at least 442 people have been killed and 2,912 others injured following persistent heavy rains and flooding that began in mid-August. The National Disaster Management Authority reported that more than 407,138 homes and at least 1.1 million acres of crops have been damaged or destroyed. Damage to agriculture and infrastructure alone was listed at $2.64 billion.

Seasonal monsoon flooding was also recorded in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia during the month. In India, at least 56 people died after floods inundated roughly 400,000 homes.

Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, said: “Over the past few years and again in 2012, we have seen flooding emerge as one of the costliest perils across the globe from an economic perspective. It is a hazard that our catastrophe modelling teams are increasingly addressing, and one that we will continue to focus heavily on going forward. As insurance and reinsurance penetration continues to increase across Asia, we expect that flood exposures will become a key challenge for the industry, and so we are obtaining the very best data and developing appropriate modeling technology to ensure that the insurers can assuredly offer a range of products to mitigate flood risk across multiple regions.”

Flooding also occurred in parts of Europe during September, where a slow-moving storm system brought torrential rainfall across northern sections of the United Kingdom, killing at least three people amid damages estimated to have exceeded $81 million in the northeast U.K.

In southern Spain, at least 10 people were killed after floods affected six separate provinces. The Insurance Compensation Commission reported that 19,500 claims were filed worth $155 million.

Elsewhere, rounds of severe weather swept across central and eastern sections of the United States, with two tornadoes recorded in the New York City metropolitan area. One 48-hour stretch of inclement weather caused estimated economic losses of $225 million, with various insurers receiving at least 35,000 claims with payouts exceeding $125 million.

Severe weather also occurred in several South American countries during September, as a powerful storm system killed at least nine people and injured more than 100 others. Paraguay was the hardest-hit country, where more than 5,000 homes were destroyed. Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina also reported impacts.

Typhoon Sanba caused economic losses of $12.2 million in Japan and $389 million in South Korea, while Typhoon Jelawat killed two people in Japan, where the system made landfall and damaged at least 3,800 homes and structures.

Meanwhile, a magnitude-7.6 earthquake struck Costa Rica, killing at least three people and injuring 30 others, amid total economic losses of approximately $45 million.

In China, two magnitude-5.6 tremors struck Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, killing at least 81 people and affecting more than 452,000 homes. Economic losses were listed at $1.15 billion.

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