Aon Benfield publishes June natural catastrophe summary


Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, has published the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which looks at the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during June 2017.

According to the report worldwide economic and insured losses during the month were once again largely driven by several major severe weather outbreaks in the US.

Severe hail events, tornado touchdowns, straight-line winds and isolated flash flooding all contributed to an aggregated economic loss that was expected to exceed $3.0 billion. Of that total, public and private insurance entities were expected to minimally cover at least $2.0 billion.

The most significant event from a financial perspective occurred on June 11 across parts of the Upper Midwest, where a series of powerful and fast-moving thunderstorms left a trail of damage in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Among the hardest-hit areas was the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan region, where substantial wind and hail damage affected homes, businesses, and vehicles. Insurance payouts from this event alone were likely to approach $1.0 billion; while the overall economic cost was estimated at around $1.4 billion.

Adam Podlaha, global head of impact forecasting, said: “Costly impacts resulting from severe convective storms were not solely confined to the United States in the month of June. Parts of Europe – notably Germany – incurred a significant cost resulting from large hail as the industry continues to get a better handle on using catastrophe models to further understand impacts from the peril. Lightning was also the primary cause of several major wildfires in South Africa; expected to result in one of the costliest payouts for a natural disaster in the local industry’s history.”

Meanwhile, major flooding impacted at least nine provinces in southern China during June, killing at least 31 people and impacting more than 130,000 homes. The catastrophe was caused by torrential downpours associated with the annual Mei-yu rains. China’s official Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) listed aggregated economic losses at more than $2.4 billion, which resulted in the flooding becoming the costliest individual global natural catastrophe in the month of June.

In addition strong thunderstorms affected the Western Cape region in South Africa, where the region was previously suffering from severe drought. However, the greatest damage cost occurred after lightning strikes prompted several catastrophic fires. Published reports indicated that the local insurance industry could face payouts approaching ZAR4.0 billion ($305 million); one of the costliest events in the region’s history.

And a combination of extreme heat and dry thunderstorms led to one of the deadliest wildfires in Portuguese history, killing 64 people destroying hundreds of homes and businesses.  Local government indicated that economic losses may reach €497 million ($565 million).

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