$1.8B Economic Loss to Europe in March: Report

April 5, 2013

Late-season winter weather affected much of Europe throughout the month of March. At least 30 fatalities were reported across the continent and early total economic loss estimates stood at $1.8 billion, including $914 million for France alone.

Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe model development center of Aon Benfield, released the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during March 2013. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc.

More than 100,000 insurance claims were filed in France, with auto claims surpassing $131 million. Among the hardest-hit areas were France, Germany and Ukraine, where snow accumulations topped 50 centimeters (19.7 inches).

Heavy snowfall engulfed northern sections of Japan between the end of February and early March. At least nine storm-related fatalities were recorded as snow depths up to 5.5 meters (16 feet) were seen in Hokkaido and northern Honshu, which resulted in local governments spending more than $14.2 million in clean-up costs.

Multiple winter storms also affected central and eastern sections of the United States, as an early March weather system killed five people and brought heavy snow and coastal flooding along the Eastern Seaboard. Another system at the end of the month brought nearly 20 inches (50 centimeters) of snow from the Rockies to the East Coast. Total combined economic losses from both systems were cited as less than $100 million.

Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, said: “The run of frequent winter weather we witnessed in January and February lingered across many of the major economies in the Northern Hemisphere in the month of March. However, the level of losses sustained has not been overwhelming for the industry despite the volume of events during the first quarter of 2013.”

A strong derecho event (defined as a long-lived, intense squall line) left widespread hail and wind damage throughout the U.S. Southeast. Mississippi was amongst the hardest-hit states, where at least 18 counties sustained damage. The state insurance department estimated that as many as 50,000 claims would be filed. Total economic losses throughout the region exceeded $250 million, while insurance losses reached approximately $150 million.

Preliminary data from the U.S. Storm Prediction Center indicate that only 17 tornadoes touched down during the month, representing the fewest number of March tornadoes in the U.S. since 1978, when 17 tornado touchdowns were also recorded.

Meanwhile, severe weather prevailed in Asia, highlighted by a strong tornado that killed at least 35 people in Bangladesh’s Brahmanbaria district.

In China, an extended stretch of hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes killed 29 people, damaged or destroyed 331,250 homes, and resulted in an economic loss estimated at $443 million.

Several days of hail also left heavy damage in central and northern Vietnam.

Elsewhere, an F3 tornado struck Australia’s northeast Victoria and southwest New South Wales during the month, injuring at least 25 people and causing economic losses estimated at $21 million.

Three people were killed in the Azores as high winds and torrential rains caused widespread damage on the islands of Terceira and Sao Miguel, with total economic damages listed at $45 million.

Heavy rainfall led to flooding and landslides across parts of South America. At least 30 people were killed in Brazil’s southeastern state of Rio de Janeiro after 12 rivers overflowed their banks. In Colombia, 11,200 families were forced from their homes after the Tamana, Habita, Baudo and Ingara rivers overflowed.

Flooding and landslides were also recorded in Namibia, Mauritius, Indonesia and China.

A magnitude-5.2 earthquake struck China’s Yunnan Province, injuring at least 30 people. The tremor destroyed 2,108 homes and damaged an additional 83,434. Total economic losses were listed at $56 million.

To view the full Impact Forecasting March 2013 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please follow the link below:


Source: Aon Benfield

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