Significant storm events in the U.S. and U.K. contribute to $4bn December insurance bill, according to Aon catastrophe report

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Record flooding and violent tornadoes in the U.S.; worst floods for parts of the U.K. since 2007

Chicago, IL (Jan. 11, 2016) – Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, has launched the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during December 2015. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc.

The study will be shortly followed by Impact Forecasting’s Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe report – scheduled to be launched on January 13 – which will offer a comprehensive analysis of the natural disaster events of 2015, and whose preliminary data reveal that despite a higher than normal number of disasters, overall losses were below normal on both an economic and insured loss basis. The United States accounted for 60 percent of all global insured losses in 2015.

The December catastrophe report reveals that a complex weather pattern impacted multiple regions of the United States, killing at least 64 people. Parts of the Midwest, Plains, Southeast, Rockies and Northeast were all impacted by the inclement weather, though the states of Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Indiana were among the hardest-hit.

Preliminary estimates suggest that total economic losses from the weather events during the month will exceed USD4.0 billion, with insured losses likely to approach or exceed USD2.0 billion. The Insurance Council of Texas reported losses of USD1.2 billion in the Dallas metropolitan area alone.

The severe weather pattern resulted in at least 58 tornado touch-downs, historic flooding in the Mississippi Valley and Midwest, and record snowfall and ice that led to extensive travel disruption, as well as hail and damaging winds.

Meanwhile, rainfall from a series of North Atlantic storm systems led to extensive flooding across the United Kingdom and Ireland throughout the month. The arrival of windstorms Ted and Eckard – also known locally as Desmond and Frank – brought even more flood and wind damage. The hardest-hit areas included a large swath of southern Scotland, northern England, and Wales, where thousands of homes endured varying levels of flood inundation.

Various published reports, including from the Association of British Insurers, indicated that preliminary insured losses in the UK were expected to exceed GBP1.5 billion (USD2.2 billion), while overall economic losses were forecast to be around GBP2.8 billion (USD4.0 billion).

Further natural hazard events to have occurred during December include:

  • Areas of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil endured their worst flooding in at least 50 years, which killed at least 16 people and resulted in preliminary economic loss estimates in excess of USD200 million.
  • Typhoon Melor made multiple landfalls in the Philippines, killing at least 42 people and injuring 24 others. The Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center reported economic damages to agriculture and infrastructure alone at PHP6.5 billion (USD140 million).
  • A wildfire in the Australian state of Victoria destroyed at least 116 homes. The Insurance Council of Australia declared an insurance catastrophe, with preliminary insured losses listed at AUD53 million (USD38 million), and total economic losses expected to exceed USD100 million.
  • The Ethiopian National Risk Management Coordination Commission announced that it sought USD1.4 billion to deal with its worst drought in 30 years. At least 10 million people were affected.

To view the full Impact Forecasting December 2015 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please click here.

Along with the report, users can access current and historical natural catastrophe data and event analysis on Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight website, which is updated bi-monthly as new data become available.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 69,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative and effective risk and people solutions and through industry-leading global resources and technical expertise. Aon has been named repeatedly as the world’s best broker, best insurance intermediary, reinsurance intermediary, captives manager and best employee benefits consulting firm by multiple industry sources. Visit www.aon.com for more information.