Picking up the pieces from June 2019

Flooding along the Elbe in Germany
Flooding along the Elbe river in Germany. Photo: andreasmetallerreni

The latest Global Catastrophe Recap Report from Aon plc may well send insurers reeling, as it uncovers the cumbersome financial impact caused by severe weather across the globe in June 2019

The report delves into the impact of the natural disasters that occurred worldwide across the one-month period and cites record-setting heatwaves and severe weather across Europe, a US$6-billion economic toll caused by flooding in China and $575-million economic losses caused by severe weather in the US, where public / private insurance payouts are estimated to reach $400 million.

Including record-setting temperatures such as the 45.9°C measured in France on 28 June – the highest ever recorded in the country – Europe played host to widespread severe weather. Damages from thunderstorms and flooding in Germany between 4 and 5 June amounted to an estimated $785 million in insured costs, and severe winds, intense rainfall and large hailstones in France led to the declaration of a state of disaster on the weekend of 15-16 June. The total economic loss across this weekend period for the portions of Western and Central Europe that were affected is expected to top €500 million ($560 million).

In the US, no fewer than 10 separate instances of severe weather and flooding affected the country during the month of June. Most of the damage was attributed to straight-line winds, with the Storm Prediction Center citing nearly 3,800 instances of winds gusting beyond 60 mph (95 kph). And most damage was incurred from the Rockies to the Northeast. Total combined monthly economic losses are likely to exceed $1 billion, Aon’s report says, and insurers are due to cover much of the hail and wind-related impacts.

The magnitude-5.8 earthquake that struck China’s Sichuan Province on 1 June caused 13 fatalities and a further 226 people were injured. A minimum of 156,000 homes were damaged and the total economic losses were minimally estimated at CNY8.9 billion ($1.3 billion).

Many more cases of heavy rainfall, flash flooding and drought caused havoc across other parts of the world, resulting in numerous casualties and huge economic losses, with insurers picking up a large portion of the bill in many cases.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – instances of severe weather are only likely to increase as the world begins to witness the rapidly worsening effects of global warming and climate change, and insurers should take this opportunity to adapt to the growing demands of damaged infrastructures, property losses and medical emergencies that the changing climate brings.

Read the full report here.