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Severe April Storms in US Result in $1.5 Billion in Catastrophe Claims

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May 11, 2018

Aon Benfield has released its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during April 2018.

The report reveals that five separate storm systems caused severe thunderstorms across the United States during the month, the strongest of which affected the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast, with nearly 70 tornado touchdowns and up to baseball-sized hail that damaged residential and commercial property and vehicles. The same system also led to anomalous snowfall in the Upper Midwest and New England, while dry conditions behind the storm caused major wildfires in the Plains, notably in Oklahoma.

Total combined economic losses from convective storm-related damage in the United States during April were estimated at $2.3 billion, with public and private insurers expected to pay at least $1.5 billion in catastrophe claims.

Michal Lörinc, an analyst within Impact Forecasting's Catastrophe Insight team, said, "As the peak of the severe weather season approaches in the United States, it is worth highlighting the impact of the thunderstorm peril in Europe. As in the US, hail has been particularly damaging to European residential and commercial property, as well as vehicles, with several historical events prompting insurance payouts in excess of a billion euros. Given this risk, Impact Forecasting will soon release a hail model that includes coverage for several European countries, to help our clients better prepare for the potential events."

Further natural disaster events to have occurred elsewhere during April include the following.

  • Persistent flooding in Kenya killed at least 78 people and caused extensive water damage to homes, cropland, and infrastructure. Regional governments indicated that total economic damage would near 35 billion Kenyan shilling ($350 million), including 20 billion Kenyan shilling ($200 million) alone to infrastructure.

  • Further flooding and casualties were noted in the African nations of Somalia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Rwanda, damaging more than 10,000 homes.

  • Extended cold and snow in China affected nearly 623,900 hectares (1.54 million acres) of cropland. Total economic losses were estimated at 9.38 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), primarily to the agricultural sector.

  • Winter weather in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec resulted in total combined economic losses in excess of $360 million, with insurance losses expect to exceed $180 million.

  • Torrential rainfall over the Hawaiian islands led to widespread flooding, with at least 532 homes damaged or destroyed. The state government allocated at least $125 million to flood repairs.

  • Tropical Cyclones Josie and Keni impacted the Fijian islands. Combined damage to physical property, agriculture, and infrastructure was estimated at more than $10 million.

To view the full Impact Forecasting April 2018 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please click here.

Along with the report, users can access current and historical natural catastrophe data and event analysis on Impact Forecasting's Catastrophe Insight website, which is updated bimonthly as new data become available.

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