Global reinsurance intermediary Aon Benfield has released the latest edition of its Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred around the world during August. The report reveals that Hurricane Isaac became the first land-falling hurricane along the US Gulf Coast region since 2008, killing at least seven people in the US and 34 in the Caribbean. Total economic losses from Isaac are forecast to reach the single-digit billion-dollar mark; however, Aon Benfield said it was too early to estimate whether insured losses would exceed the US$2.3-billion loss sustained from Hurricane Gustav in 2008. In the days following Isaac’s landfall, insurance companies were reported to have received over 28,000 home and car insurance claims.
Throughout August, tropical cyclone activity was heightened across the Northwest Pacific Basin, with six typhoons making landfall and causing notable damage in eastern and south-eastern Asia. The costliest, Typhoon Damrey, was forecast to have caused economic damage of ¥20.86 billion ($3.28 billion), according to China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA), and insured losses of ¥660 million, according to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC). Typhoon Haikui also affected eastern China, with the MCA estimating ¥13 billion in economic losses and CIRC’s figures showing pay-outs of ¥1.46 billion. Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development centre of excellence, said of the recent extreme weather events: “August witnessed a series of costly cyclone events globally, which have highlighted not only the disparity in risk management procedures between countries, but also the relative levels of insurance penetration. Taking Typhoon Damrey in China as an example, the insurance cover may be in the region of three per cent of the resultant total economic losses. This is very low compared to the US, where we expect insurance cover for wind for Hurricane Isaac to be much higher.”
Extreme weather events around the world include Super Typhoon Bolaven in South Korea, while Hurricane Ernesto and Tropical Storm Helene made landfall in Mexico. August also saw severe flooding in many areas of the world, from the Philippines, where up to 90 per cent of Metro Manila was at one point underwater, and floods also affected Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Sudan, Senegal, India, Pakistan and China. Two earthquakes hit in northwestern Iran, leaving 157,000 people homeless and economic losses in the region of $600 million, according to government figures. Drought conditions during the hot European summer meant the already fragile farmland in Russia and Italy saw increasing drought conditions, with each country citing economic losses of over $1 billion.