UK Flood Insurance Losses Hit Five Year High: Aon Report

December 7, 2012

The recent flooding the United Kingdom experienced last month, which killed at least four people and damaged more than 1,100 homes, raised flood insurance losses there to around $1.6 billion for 2012, making it the costliest flood year since 2007, during which more than $4.8 billion claims were processed.

Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe model development center at Aon Benfield, released the latest data in its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during November 2012. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon.

A report from professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers noted that the floods were likely to cost insurers as much as $800 million.

Also in Europe, excessive rains prompted flooding along the Drava and Sava rivers in Slovenia, and in neighboring Croatia, damaging more than 4,500 structures and resulting in an economic loss estimated at EUR209 million (USD265 million).

Additional flooding was recorded during the month in Indonesia, Panama, Haiti and Congo.

Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, said: “Europe traditionally suffers periods of flooding throughout the year, and since it is a highly insurable peril across a large proportion of the continent, insurance losses can be significant. We have made advances in our understanding of the flood peril, particularly in the aftermath of the Thailand floods in 2011, and in response, Aon Benfield continues to develop and revise its modelling suite so insurers and reinsurers can better quantify their flood exposures.”

Elsewhere in November, a magnitude-7.4 earthquake struck offshore Guatemala, killing at least 52 people and affecting at least 30,870 homes in 21 separate regions. More than $102 million was made available to assist with the recovery.

Meanwhile, at least 26 people were killed and 231 others were injured after a magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck northern Myanmar. Thousands of homes and other structures were damaged as $1.17 million was allocated for disaster relief.

In Iran, a magnitude-5.5 earthquake injured at least 55 people, with the majority of damage concentrated in East Azabaijan Province.

Two periods of severe weather impacted Australia during the month, with one stretch particularly affecting areas of southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. Softball-sized hail caused significant damage, while flash floods and high winds damaged trees and power lines. Local insurers noted that 10,700 home and auto claims had already been filed with payouts expected to reach at least $105 million.

Winter weather was also prevalent in November, most notably in China. Two separate waves of winter storms led to a combined $338 million in economic damages across several provinces.

Also in Asia, Japan and Pakistan both recorded heavy snow and wind events.

In the United States, a Nor’easter affected coastal sections of New England and the Mid-Atlantic nearly one week after Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy’s landfall in late October.

Sandy left 131 people dead in the U.S., and caused at least USD62 billion in economic losses. It is now the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, only behind 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

Source: Aon Benfield

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