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U.S. states declare emergency as winter storms herald $100m economic loss, according to Impact Forecasting catastrophe report

CHICAGO, March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe model development center of excellence at Aon Benfield, today releases the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during February 2013. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE:AON).

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The report reveals that at least four separate winter storms impacted the United States during the month. The most deadly was a powerful Nor'easter which killed at least 15 people and affected more than 60 million citizens. A state of emergency was declared in six states.

The storm brought heavy snowfall of 40 inches (102 centimeters) in Connecticut, and coastal flooding in Massachusetts – including the city of Boston. Total economic losses were estimated at roughly USD100 million, with only a modest number of insurance claims filed.

Another winter storm led to severe weather activity across the Southeast U.S., spawning an EF-4 tornado with 170 mph (275 kph) winds in the greater Hattiesburg, Mississippi region that injured at least 82 people. According to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the tornado damaged more than 1,600 homes, businesses and other structures in Forrest and Lamar counties alone.

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: "As was the case in January, flooding and active winter weather continued to produce the largest global loss events during February, with the United States being particularly impacted by a series of powerful winter storms. While the damage was widespread, economic losses across the affected U.S. states were within the expected range for events of this magnitude, and, in some cases, insured losses were actually lower than might have been expected. We continue to analyze the impact of winter weather globally, and use our findings to update Impact Forecasting's catastrophe models to ensure we provide our clients with the most realistic exposure scenarios."

Severe winter weather was also recorded in China, particularly in the provinces of Anhui, Hubei and Jiangsu. A combined 2,700 homes were damaged or destroyed, primarily due to roofs collapsing under the weight of the snow and ice. Two people were killed, and direct economic losses were listed at CNY770 million (USD124 million).

Four separate tropical systems had a notable impact during February, including tropical cyclones Felleng and Haruna in Madagascar. Felleng's torrential rains and high winds killed at least 18 people across areas of Madagascar and the Seychelles despite never making an official landfall. Haruna made landfall in southern Madagascar's Atsimo-Andrefana, killing at least 26 people and damaging 16,160 homes and 289 other schools, administrative buildings and health centers.

Total economic losses caused by Felleng were listed in excess of USD10 million.

Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Rusty made landfall in Western Australia near Pardoo, causing only slight damage despite rainfall in excess of 500 millimeters (19.69 inches), and winds gusting beyond 120 kph (75 mph).

Flooding was prevalent across portions of South America, Asia and Europe during the month, with Peru and Bolivia amongst the hardest-hit, where seasonal rains killed at least 54 people and damaged or destroyed nearly 22,000 homes.

Other flood events occurred in Macedonia, Serbia, Greece, Indonesia and the Philippines.

A prolonged drought that began in January continued to affect parts of central and eastern China during the month. At least six provinces (Yunnan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Qinghai, Shanxi, and Gansu) were impacted as nearly 750,000 hectares (1.85 million acres) of cropland were damaged by a lack of precipitation. The Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) noted that combined economic losses were CNY3.37 billion (USD541 million).

A magnitude-8.0 earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, leading to the deaths of at least 13 people. A small tsunami up to 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) in height was recorded, which damaged at least 1,066 homes on the Santa Cruz Islands.

Additional earthquake events were recorded in Colombia and China.

A meteor exploded above Russia's Urals region, injuring 1,491 people. The blast, which had an energy equivalent roughly 30 times stronger than an atomic bomb, damaged 100,000 homes, 3,000 buildings, 700 schools and 200 hospitals in more than six Russian cities and parts of two Kazakhstan provinces. Economic losses were listed at RUB1 billion (USD33 million).

To view the full Impact Forecasting February 2013 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please follow the link below: http://thoughtleadership.aonbenfield.com/Documents/20130306_if_february_global_recap.pdf

To access the Catastrophe Insight website, please visit: www.aonbenfield.com/catastropheinsight

About Aon Benfield
As a recognized leader in treaty, facultative and capital markets, Aon Benfield is redefining the role of the reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor. Through our notable expertise and industry-leading proprietary tools and products, we help our clients to redefine success. Aon Benfield offers unbiased capital advice and customized access to reinsurance and capital markets. As a trusted advocate, we provide local reach to the world's markets, an investment in innovative analytics, including catastrophe management, actuarial, and rating agency advisory, and the right professionals to advise clients in making the optimal capital choice for their business. With an international network of more than 80 offices in 50 countries, our worldwide client base is able to access a broad portfolio of integrated capital solutions and services. Learn more at aonbenfield.com.

About Impact Forecasting® LLC
Impact Forecasting is a catastrophe modeling center of excellence whose seismologists, meteorologists, engineers, mathematicians, finance risk management and insurance professionals analyze the financial implications of natural and man-made catastrophes around the world.  Impact Forecasting's experts develop software tools and models that help clients understand risks from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires and terrorist attacks on property, casualty and crop insurers and reinsurers.  To find out more about Impact Forecasting® LLC, visit www.impactforecasting.com.


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