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US economy facing $3bn hit from active weather in March, according to Aon catastrophe report

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    • Claims & Losses
    • Environment & Climate
    • Property - International
    • Property - North America

Drought in Argentina and Uruguay impacts agriculture; economic losses approach $4bn...

Impact Forecasting has launched the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during March 2018. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc.


The report reveals that a series of winter storms in the United States during the month led to extensive travel delays and widespread damage across more than a dozen states during the month, killing at least 10 people.


March also saw the first notable 2018 severe weather outbreak in the U.S., which included the first EF3 tornado touchdown in the country for a record 306 days.


Total combined economic damage from the winter storms and severe weather was forecast to reach USD3 billion, with public and private insurers expected to cover roughly two-thirds of the cost.


Elsewhere, the Insurance Council of Australia declared three separate catastrophes: regional flooding in Queensland; a series of bushfires in New South Wales and Victoria; and Tropical Cyclone Marcus’s landfall and impact in the Northern Territory.


A combined 4,200 claims from the three events were filed as of March 21, and insurance payouts were expected to minimally exceed USD61 million, with overall economic losses even higher.


Meanwhile, the worst drought in at least 30 years continued to affect a broad region of Argentina during March, causing severe damage to summer crops. The hardest-hit areas included the states of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Cordoba, and Santiago del Estero. Total economic losses were estimated at USD3.4 billion, or equal to a 0.5 percent reduction in GDP. Similar impacts were recorded in Uruguay, where local agriculture officials anticipated economic losses in excess of USD500 million.


Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting director and meteorologist, said: “With an expected multi-billion dollar impact to the agricultural sectors in Argentina and Uruguay alone, this puts additional focus on how costly the drought peril can be and the importance of crop insurance. Lingering La Niña conditions during the austral summer has led to a continued severe lack of rainfall across parts of South America. This further signifies the sensitivities of weather patterns surrounding the phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), marked by changes in sea surface temperature and wind patterns in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and how it can influence different types of disaster risk on a global scale.”


Further natural disaster events to have occurred elsewhere during March include:


·         Papua New Guinea continued to be hit by a series of strong aftershocks following the earthquake of February 26. Two of the strongest aftershocks of M6.0 and M6.7 claimed 11 and 25 lives, respectively. The government cited that more than 10,000 homes were damaged. Total economic damage was estimated at PGK600 million (USD190 million), though this total was likely to increase.


·         A relatively weak tropical storm named Eliakim impacted portions of Madagascar from March 16-18, resulting in regional flooding and numerous landslides. According to local authorities, 21 people lost their lives and more than 17,000 homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed.


·         Two successive extratropical cyclones impacted the Iberian Peninsula from March 9-14, bringing strong winds and abundant precipitation to several Portuguese and Spanish regions. No serious injuries or fatalities were reported. The two storms were named ‘Felix’ and ‘Gisele’ by local meteorological agencies. Total economic losses were estimated to reach into the tens of millions (USD).


·         Additional severe weather and flooding events were noted in parts of the U.S., Brazil, Turkey, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Lesotho, and China.


To view the full Impact Forecasting March 2018 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please follow the link:


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 bi-monthly as new data become available: