Severe convective storms and flooding in March caused an estimated $2 billion of damage in the US, according to Aon’s monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, leaving public and private insurers with losses likely to be in excess of $1 billion.
A preliminary confirmed total of 122 tornadoes touched down in the US during the month, with at least seven people killed from tornadic events. Five of the 122 tornadoes were rated EF3 (four) or EF4 (one), with the most notable outbreaks occurring on March 22-23, 24-26, and 27-28, Aon said.
The severe weather was most damaging across parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee. Beyond the impacts from tornadoes, there were hundreds of reports of large hail and damaging straight-line winds that resulted in extensive property damage.
The storms also prompted significant flooding in parts of the Tennessee Valley. At least seven reported fatalities in Tennessee alone, including some in the greater Nashville metro region, after numerous river locations swelled beyond their banks.
In Europe, Windstorms Klaus and Luis affected parts of Western and Central Europe on March 10-13 with strong winds. Both storms caused moderate losses, with notable impacts in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, northern France and the UK. Local insurers were faced with tens of thousands of claims.
Michal Lörinc, senior catastrophe analyst for Aon’s impact forecasting team, said: “While the 2020/21 European windstorm season was not abnormally costly, it remains a peril worth closely monitoring.”
In Australia, a series of frontal systems and an East Coast Low led to extensive flooding on the east coast, killing at least two people and causing significant property damage. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) declared an insurance catastrophe, with insured losses estimated at around AUD537 million ($410 million).
Aon, Michal Lörinc