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US economy takes $4bn hit from May severe weather; insurance payouts approach $3bn, according to Aon catastrophe report
Report reveals that Sri Lanka floods killed more than 200 people during the month


CHICAGO, June 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team, today launches the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during May 2017. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE:AON).

The report reveals that several major outbreaks of severe weather swept across central and eastern sections of the United States during the month, causing extensive damage through large hail, straight-line winds, tornadoes and isolated flash flooding.

The most prolific event occurred in the greater Denver, Colorado metro region, where damage from up to softball-sized hail led to insurance payouts of more than USD1.4 billion in the state alone. Significant damage from severe storms was also cited in parts of the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, and the Mid-Atlantic.

Total aggregated economic losses from US severe weather in May was set to exceed USD4.0 billion, while public and private insurers faced a combined payout approaching USD3.0 billion. These totals were subject to change as further assessments were conducted.

Meanwhile, the combination of the arrival of the southwest monsoon and a developing tropical cyclone led to significant rainfall across Sri Lanka, killing at least 213 people, with another 77 people listed as missing and presumed dead. Nearly 150 others were injured.

Flooding and landslides affected 15 of the country's 25 districts and left more than 22,200 homes damaged or destroyed. Thousands of other structures (including hospitals, schools and religious facilities) were inundated. Total economic losses were preliminarily estimated at USD197 million.

Claire Darbinyan, Impact Forecasting Associate Director and Meteorologist said: "With the onset of the annual monsoon season for many Asian nations, the events seen in the month of May provided a potential precursor to some of the impacts typically experienced in the region during the months of June, July, and August. The early monsoon rains were enhanced over Sri Lanka causing significant property damage and loss of life. As catastrophe models become more prevalent in Asia, the re/insurance industry is better able to provide a clearer understanding of the risks that the flood peril increasingly poses in the region. The opportunity exists for the industry to engage with governments, communities and businesses to share their expertise to help mitigate the effects of such natural disasters."

Other natural hazard events to have occurred elsewhere during May include:

  • Cyclone Mora made landfall in Bangladesh, prompting widespread flood and wind damage. Affects were later felt in Myanmar. At least nine people were killed and a combined 50,000 homes and other structures were damaged. Overall aggregated losses were expected to exceed USD100 million.
  • Powerful thunderstorms led to widespread hail and wind damage in parts of Canada, Russia, China, and Bangladesh. Total combined economic losses were well beyond USD100 million.
  • In Canada, separate bouts of excessive rainfall led to major flooding events in Ontario, Quebec, the Canadian Maritimes and British Columbia, killing at least four people and damaging more than 5,200 homes.
  • Major flood events affected Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, and Indonesia.
  • Multiple regions of the globe dealt with worsening drought conditions. In China, the northern provincial areas of Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Liaoning cited agricultural losses of at least USD122 million. The ongoing drought in South Africa saw costs likely to exceed USD100 million.
  • Cyclone Donna became the strongest cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere during the month of May. The storm tracked through the South Pacific Islands and caused extensive damage in parts of the Vanuatu island chain, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.
  • Separate moderate earthquake events struck Iran (magnitude-5.8) and China (magnitude-5.4), killing 11 people and injuring hundreds more. Thousands of homes collapsed.

To view the full Impact Forecasting May 2017 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:

Sign up for Impact Forecasting Revealed in Zurich and London to explore the latest developments in catastrophe management.

Further information

For further information please contact the Aon Benfield PR team: Andrew Wragg (+44 207 522 8183 / 07595 217168) David Bogg or Alexandra Lewis

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