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Insurers face billions of dollars in claims payouts following U.S. thunderstorms in April, according to Aon catastrophe report

CHICAGO, May 7, 2020 – Aon plc (NYSE:AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, 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 April.

The report reveals that extensive U.S. severe weather events prompted a multi-billion-dollar payout for insurers. There were 14 killer tornadoes in the U.S. in April – the fifth-most in any month on record since 1950. The first major outbreak of the month, from April 6-9, was marked by a complex outbreak that generated more than 30 tornadoes, hail stones larger than the size of baseballs and straight-line winds topping 70 mph (110 kph). That event alone caused economic losses of nearly USD2.0 billion, with roughly three-quarters of this cost being insured. A prolific tornado outbreak on April 12-13 was another billion-dollar event which was marked by 138 tornado touchdowns, including 15 rated EF3 (12) or EF4 (3).


Seasonal flooding caused more than 200 fatalities around the world including in East Africa, with widespread impacts in DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti; although humanitarian impact is expected to be much more significant than financial costs. Middle East experienced further flooding as Iran reported notable economic losses in southern provinces, and western Yemen was hard hit as well. Indonesia, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea experienced multiple floods and landslides following heavy rainfall.

Steve Bowen, Director and Meteorologist within Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, said: “The highest frequency of billion-dollar disasters for the global insurance industry in the last decade has been severe convective storms (SCS); accounting for more than 40 percent of such events. The United States remains the epicenter for the peril as 54 out of 62 global SCS-related billion-dollar insured events had been recorded from 2010 through Q1 2020 alone. Following another very active month of tornadoes, large hail, and straight-line winds, the country was poised to add multiple events to this total. As exposure growth further accelerates into vulnerable thunderstorm-prone areas and combines with more dynamic atmospheric conditions, it is anticipated that these high-loss events will only grow more frequent in the future.”

Other natural hazard events this month include:

  • Cyclone Harold tracked across the South Pacific Islands as a Category 5 storm and causes major damage with 165 mph peak 1-minute average wind speeds. Preliminary damage costs are estimated at USD111 million in Tonga and hundreds of millions (USD) on Vanuatu. Most of the financial costs were likely to remain uninsured.
  • Parts of Europe experienced one of the driest months of April on record, following the warmest first quarter for the continent ever measured; for example, average rainfall of 16.5 millimeters was noted in Germany in April which was third-driest April on record since 1881.
  • Additional late frosts affected European farmers in April; bringing cumulative economic losses since March to hundreds of millions EUR. Additional, minor damage on viticulture and other produce was reported in France and Spain due to hail and flooding.

To view the full Impact Forecasting April 2020 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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