Insured Losses from December Storms and Floods in US and UK to Exceed $4.2 Billion

In their Global Catastrophe Recap report for this month, Aon Benfield say that total insured losses from the severe weather events at the end of December in the US and UK will exceed $4.2 billion and that total economic losses are likely to exceed $8 billion.

Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team launched the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report last week. The report evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during December 2015. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc.

USA – December Storms and Floods Cause $4 Billion in Economic Losses

The December catastrophe report reveals that a complex weather pattern impacted multiple regions of the United States, killing at least 64 people. Parts of the Midwest, Plains, Southeast, Rockies and Northeast were all impacted by the inclement weather, though the states of Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Indiana were among the hardest-hit.

Aon Benfield say that preliminary estimates suggest that total economic losses from the weather events during the month will exceed USD4.0 billion, with insured losses likely to approach or exceed USD2.0 billion. The Insurance Council of Texas reported losses of USD1.2 billion in the Dallas metropolitan area alone.

The severe weather pattern resulted in at least 58 tornado touch-downs, historic flooding in the Mississippi Valley and Midwest, and record snowfall and ice that led to extensive travel disruption, as well as hail and damaging winds.

December Floods in UK and Ireland Cost $4 Billion

Rainfall from a series of North Atlantic storm systems led to extensive flooding across the United Kingdom and Ireland throughout December. The hardest-hit areas included a large swath of southern Scotland parts of Wales and areas of northern England, including Cumbria, which saw major flooding in early December 2015, and later parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, which suffered after heavy rain brought by storm Eva.

Liz Truss, the UK environment secretary, told parliament on 05 January 2016, that around 16,000 properties were flooded in England alone in December 2015.

According to Aon Benfield, various published reports, including from the Association of British Insurers, indicated that preliminary insured losses in the UK were expected to exceed GBP1.5 billion (USD2.2 billion), while overall economic losses were forecast to be around GBP2.8 billion (USD4.0 billion).

South America Floods Cause $200 Million Economic Losses

Areas of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil have endured their worst flooding in at least 50 years, and the situation continues. There are currently over 100,000 displaced by the floods across the 4 countries.

Aon Benfield say that 16 people have died as a result, and estimate preliminary economic losses in excess of USD200 million.

Philippines – $140 Million Economic Damages Caused by Typhoon Melor

During mid December 2015, Typhoon Melor made multiple landfalls in the Philippines, killing at least 42 people and injuring 24 others. The Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center reported economic damages to agriculture and infrastructure alone at PHP6.5 billion (USD140 million).

An aerial view from a Missouri National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the effects of flooding in Pacific, Mo., Dec. 30, 2015. Missouri National Guard photo
An aerial view from a Missouri National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the effects of flooding in Pacific, Mo., Dec. 30, 2015. Missouri National Guard photo