Economic Losses from August Quake, Weather in U.S. Top $4 Billion: Aon

As far as natural perils go, August was mostly about earthquakes, along with a few tropical storms and typhoons around the world to add to the trouble, according to Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting in its latest global catastrophe report.

Earthquake events hit around the world in August, in Peru, Ecuador, Iran, Algeria, and South Africa. But one of the biggest took place on Aug. 24 in the Napa Valley/San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S., causing a tremor of at least magnitude 6.0. Aon Benfield/Impact Forecasting said that total economic losses from the event could hit the $2 billion mark, with insured losses only in the hundreds of millions of dollars because of the small levels of residential insurance penetration in Napa County and areas close to the epicenter (5.3 percent, versus 10 percent in surrounding counties).

There was also the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that unsettled Yunnan Province in southwest China on Aug. 23, killing at least 617 people and causing injury to more than 3,143 additional people. This event makes the Napa Valley quake pale in comparison in terms of damages, with economic losses predicted to reach $6.3 billion. More than 25,800 homes collapsed after the quake and 200,000 more sustained damage, according to the report.

Other major weather events that struck in August include:

Meanwhile, severe drought conditions got worse in August in Guatemala and Sri Lanka, threatening both countries’ agricultural sectors.