Nat cat events caused more than US$3 billion in damage in January

A rain lashed window

Among the natural catastrophe events that caused chaos at the beginning of 2020 were major floods, wildfires and hailstorms

Global professional services firm Aon plc’s latest Global Catastrophe Recap report analyses and evaluates the economic impact of the various natural catastrophe events that hit the world throughout January. Powerful winter storms in the US, for example, killed at least 12 and resulted in economic losses of over US$1 billion (two-thirds of which is likely to be insured), while ongoing bushfires in Australia have caused – at the time of writing – at least 34 deaths and resulted in the filing of at least 20,000 insurance claims, with insured losses hitting AU$1.65 billion and likely to continue to rise.

To add to Australia’s woes, powerful thunderstorms and hail damage caused widespread damage in January, with nearly 70,000 insurance claims filed, equating to estimated insured losses of AU$638 million.

Elsewhere, earthquakes in Puerto Rico resulted in economic losses of at least US$450 million; major flooding in Brazil necessitated hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of aid to cover damage; record-breaking rainfall in Israel has led to at least 45,000 insurance claims being filed, with losses exceeding US$434 million; and winter storms in Pakistan and Afghanistan led to over 100 deaths and over 1,300 homes being damaged or destroyed.

“Secondary perils continue to ignite further conversations across both public and private sector interests as direct impacts have risen in recent years,” said Steve Bowen, a meteorologist and Director of Aon’s Impact Forecasting Team. “The start of 2020 only enhanced the need for more discussions, as record-breaking wildfires persisted in Australia and major inland flood events were recorded in parts of the Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. With humanitarian and property vulnerabilities continuing to be exposed during these events, the need to implement resilience and adaptation measures will only become more imperative. The insurance industry remains positioned to lead in this space.”