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Queensland floods result in AUD1.7bn loss to Australian economy, according to Aon catastrophe report
Insurance payouts set to exceed AUD893m following more than 22,000 claims

CHICAGO, March 7, 2019 – Aon’s Impact Forecasting 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 February 2019.

The report reveals that Australia’s Northern Queensland experienced widespread flooding from January 26 to February 7, killing at least three people, with the most significant impacts reported in the Townsville region. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) cited more than 22,204 filed claims with payouts exceeding AUD893 million (USD635 million), while total economic losses – including damage to property, infrastructure, and agriculture – were expected to be at least AUD1.7 billion (USD1.2 billion).

Meanwhile, torrential rains caused significant flooding in Chile during the first 10 days of February, killing at least six people. More than 5,700 homes were damaged or destroyed alone in the Arica y Parinacota, Tarapacá, and Antofagasta regions. The Chilean government allocated CLP60 billion (USD91 million) for event relief.

Multiple storm systems resulted in periods of heavy snow, freezing rain, and ice across parts of the U.S. Midwest and Canada throughout February. Total combined economic and insured losses from the events were expected to reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars (USD).

Severe weather swept across much of the Central and Eastern U.S. from February 22-26, leaving at least four people dead and dozens of others injured. The inclement weather prompted powerful thunderstorms that generated tornadoes, large hail, damaging straight-line winds, and flooding rainfall. Wintry weather and very gusty synoptic-scale winds also accompanied the event. Total damage was expected to reach into the hundreds of millions (USD).

Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting Director and Meteorologist, said: “As the calendar begins to shift from winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere, increased focus is now on the official arrival of El Niño. While currently a weak El Niño episode and not expected to have significant impacts on global weather patterns, such conditions can still enhance regional phenomena. Given that the second and third quarters are typically the costliest for catastrophe losses, there will be continued monitoring of whether El Niño may have any notable influence on upcoming events.”

Other natural catastrophe events to have occurred elsewhere during the month include:

  • An outbreak of severe weather impacted several countries in the Mediterranean region from February 23-26, killing at least eight people. The combination of strong winds and heavy rainfall caused moderate damage in Italy, Croatia, Greece, and Malta. The financial impact was expected to exceed EUR200 million.
  • Multiple landslides were triggered in Bolivia between February 2-4 following days of heavy rainfall. On February 2, a mudslide struck multiple cars on the mountain highway. At least 23 people were killed or missing.
  • A powerful upper level area of low pressure produced hurricane-force wind gusts, torrential rains, high surf, mountain snow, and some of the coldest temperatures in years in Hawaii on February 10. Nearly every main island reported varying levels of effects, though Oahu was affected the most.

To view the full Impact Forecasting February 2019 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:

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