According to the new Global Catastrophe Recap report from global reinsurance intermediary Aon Benfield, severe weather remains the biggest driver of global insurance losses in 2017.
The report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during April 2017, found that several further severe weather outbreaks impacted the US during the month, meaning that this remains the largest contributor to total global insurance losses in 2017.
According to the report, the most severe outbreak, from late April into early May, featured a complex and broad storm weather system that produced violent tornadoes, straight-line winds, large hail and excessive rainfall, killing 20 people in parts of the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Total economic losses from this event alone were predicted to exceed US$1 billion.
The South Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand were impacted by Cyclone Debbie from late March and into the first weeks of April. Eastern Australia was the worst impacted, with damage from high winds and widespread coastal and inland flooding resulting in an anticipated insured loss of $970 million. The overall economic cost was estimated at around $2 billion.
“Much of the focus in April was once again on the US, as powerful thunderstorms and excessive rainfall led to considerable impacts to central and eastern sections of the country,” said Steve Bowen, impact forecasting director and meteorologist. “The insurance industry is facing another multi-billion dollar pay-out as tornadoes, large hail, straight-line winds and flooding left a large damage footprint. The industry in the US is well on its way to facing its tenth consecutive year of annual pay-outs of $10 billion or more for the severe convective storm peril. Beyond the US, insurers continued to assess the cost of wind and flood damage resulting from Cyclone Debbie in Australia and New Zealand.”