$15B Global Economic Toll Due to September Natural Disasters

October 10, 2013

September was an active month for natural disaster around the globe, according to Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe model development center of excellence at Aon Benfield.

Aon Benfield, the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc, released the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during September 2013.

The report reveals that Hurricanes Manuel and Ingrid made separate landfalls within 24 hours on opposite sides of Mexico, causing extensive damage across much of the country and resulting in nearly 200 people being declared dead or missing.

The Mexican government estimated total economic losses from both storms would breach MXN75 billion ($5.7 billion), with insured losses of above MXN12 billion ($915 million), according to the Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions.

Meanwhile, Super Typhoon Usagi made landfall in China, killing at least 37 people. Total economic losses were estimated at CNY23.5 billion ($3.8 billion) by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA), with at least 101,200 homes damaged across five provinces, Usagi’s landfall in China marked one of the strongest typhoons to come ashore in Guangdong Province in nearly 40 years.

Typhoon Wutip made landfall in Vietnam, killing 14 people and injuring 225 others. Economic losses were estimated at VND5.0 trillion ($240 million), amid damage to 224,000 homes, and 1,100 schools, public buildings and hospitals, according to officials.

Japan sustained two tropical storm landfalls in September, Toraji and Man-yi, though damage was not substantial.

FEMA's Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) conduct door to door checks in left hand canyon Photo by Michael Rieger/FEMA
FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) conduct door to door checks in left hand canyon Photo by Michael Rieger/FEMA

Record rainfall prompted historic flash flooding across the U.S. state of Colorado, killing at least nine people. Total economic losses were forecast above $2.0 billion, and preliminary insured losses estimated at $150 million. The insured loss estimate does not include pending losses sustained via the National Flood Insurance Program. The most significant damage occurred in the counties of Boulder, Larimer and El Paso, after several major rivers and creeks crested at all-time highs. The Office of Emergency Management reported that nearly 20,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. One person was also killed by flooding in New Mexico.

The combination of seasonal monsoon rains and the remnants of tropical cyclones led to flooding across parts of Asia, including China (17 killed; $343 million economic loss); Thailand (30 killed; 15,000 homes damaged); Laos (USD61 million economic loss); Cambodia (83 killed; 120,000 homes damaged); the Philippines (32 killed), and Vietnam (15 killed; 15,000 homes damaged).

Flood events were also recorded in Romania, Ukraine, Mexico, Bolivia, and Solomon Islands during the month.

Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, said: “As our September Catastrophe Recap report highlights, tropical cyclone and flood events can simultaneously affect many countries around the world. Due to varying degrees of insurance penetration, a large strain is placed on governments in certain regions to provide sufficient disaster relief funding and resources. Impact Forecasting continues to expand its modeling suite in order that insurers and reinsurers in most global territories are able to quantify and qualify their potential exposures.”

Elsewhere during September, a major magnitude-7.7 earthquake and a subsequent magnitude-6.8 aftershock struck southwest Pakistan, killing at least 825 people and injuring 824 others. Total economic losses were estimated at $100 million. Both tremors were centered in Awaran district, with the most severe damage concentrated in a 500-kilometer area (310-mile) in Baluchistan Province, where roughly 21,000 poorly constructed mud-brick homes collapsed.

A prolonged stretch of winter weather throughout the second half of September led to extensive agricultural damage in central Chile. A state of emergency was declared after farmers reported that frigid air had destroyed 61 percent of stoned fruit crops, 57 percent of almonds, 48 percent of kiwi crops, and 20 percent of table grapes. Heavy damage to vineyards also affected wine productivity. Total economic losses were listed at CLP575 billion ($1.15 billion).

Severe weather swept across New Zealand, prompting hurricane-force winds and flooding rains on both the North and South islands. Local insurers anticipated payouts to exceed NZD15 million ($12.5 million).

Source: Aon Benfield

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