Global floods cause more than $8bn in economic losses in March 2019: Aon

Global Catastrophe Recap – March 2019

Chicago, IL (Apr. 9, 2019) – Aon plc, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, today launches its Global Catastrophe Recap – March 2019. This evaluates the impact of global natural disaster events to identify trends, manage volatility and enhance resilience.

The report reveals that damage from flooding in March 2019 is estimated at USD8 billion from events across the globe.

In Canada, the combination of heavy rainfall, warming temperatures and melting snow led to flooding in Ontario and Quebec. Economic losses were estimated at up to CAD150 million (USD110 million) and insurers paid up to CAD60 million (USD45 million).

In the US, following heavy snowfall and rain, record temperatures, severe thunderstorms, and hurricane-force synoptic winds , historic river flooding swept across the Missouri and Mississippi River Basins. Total economic losses were estimated beyond USD4 billion, with up to USD1 billion in claims.


  • In Brazil, Torrential rainfall led to flooding throughout Sao Paulo, closing a prominent auto factory due to water intrusion. Heavy rain also swept across Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador.
  • Weeks of torrential rainfall led to extensive flooding in dozens of Iranian provinces, killing at least 70 people. Total economic losses were unofficially estimated by local government officials at up to IRR150 trillion (USD3.6 billion; Market Exchange Rate / USD1.1 billion; Unofficial Iran Exchange Rate*).
  • KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa was impacted by strong thunderstorms. The worst flooding was noted in KwaMashu, Inanda, and Verulam. Further, at least 27 people were left dead or missing in Angola.
  • Heavy rains impacted six provinces of Afghanistan, damaging 4,000 houses. The same system also brought flooding to Pakistan.
  • Flooding rains led to inundation and landslide damage in Indonesia’s West Manggarai region. Among the worst damage and human cost was in Jayapura Regency.
  • Some 45 people were killed across 13 provinces in Afghanistan due to flash flooding and landslides. Nearly 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and thousands of acres of farmland were submerged.
  • Severe thunderstorms swept across parts of Nepal and India with the worst impacts in Bara district due to damaging winds and heavy rain. Nearly 2,400 homes and 5,800 hectares (14,000 acres) of cropland was damaged.
  • A pre-monsoon thunderstorm struck parts of Bangladesh bringing winds, rain and hail-storm to Dhaka.
  • Record 48-hour rainfall caused local flooding along New Zealand’s West Coast. Damage to infrastructure and property was expected to reach into the millions (USD).

Michal Lörinc, Senior Catastrophe Analyst at Aon’s Impact Forecasting, commented: “The major catastrophe events of March highlighted the continued vulnerabilities which exist in both developed and emerging markets. The multi-billion-dollar impacts from flooding in the United States, Iran, and Cyclone Idai in Southern Africa were each enhanced by infrastructure unable to handle the large scale of water inundation. In an increasingly volatile era for weather events and their impacts on a growing exposure, it will be critical that resilience and risk mitigation planning will become more pronounced in the public and private sectors.”

Cyclone Idai with wind speeds reaching 115mph made landfall in Mozambique with significant storm surge, heavy rain, and wind damage. Lingering rainfall following landfall led to catastrophic flooding and a humanitarian crisis across Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. More than 1,100 people were killed across Southern Africa and hundreds more remain listed as missing. More than 3 million people were affected. Total economic damage to infrastructure in Mozambique alone was estimated at USD1 billion.

Windstorm Eberhard swept through parts of Western and Central Europe on March 10, incurring widespread damage and disruption. Two people were killed. The storm resulted in nearly one million power outages and tens of thousands of filed property claims. The hardest-hit areas came in Germany. With economic and insured losses minimally expected to reach into the hundreds of millions (EUR), Eberhard became the costliest event of the 2018/19 windstorm season in Europe.

About Aon

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SOURCE: Aon plc

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