January floods hit Australia, Indonesia for nearly $6 billion Aon Benfield says

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Severe flooding in Australia and Indonesia and the worst tornado outbreak in the US since 2008 drove global insurance costs in January, causing economic losses of more than $6 billion and insured losses of about $800 million.

That’s according to a new report released by Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting, the company’s catastrophe model development centre.

Floods in Australia killed at least six people and generated $313 million in insured losses, the report said. Economic losses in Queensland alone totalled $2.5 billion. The nation endured flooding in 2011 as well which led about $1.6 billion in insured losses. Wildfires led to another $100 million in insured losses for Australia last month, most of it in Tasmania, Impact Forecasting said.

“The fact that they’ve seen in two of the last three years multibillion-dollar flood events is certainly the biggest takeaway globally,” said Steve Bowen, a senior scientist and meteorologist at Impact Forecasting.

Torrential rains flooded Jakarta, killing at least 41 people, damaging or destroying more than 100,000 homes and causing insured losses exceeding $311 million. The Indonesian government has estimated economic damage at $3.3 billion, according to the report. The flooding was the worst in the region since 2007.

A flurry of tornadoes in the US in late January killed at least three people and may have caused as much as $75 million in insured losses, the report said. Fifty tornadoes touched down during the period, tying 2008 as the largest January outbreak since 1950.

The Northern Hemisphere didn’t see a major winter weather event last month, according to the report. Europe escaped without experiencing a strong windstorm akin to Klaus in 2009, Kyrill in 2007 or Erwin in 2005.

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Published Feb 12, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 11, 2013 at 8:19 pm)

January floods hit Australia, Indonesia for nearly $6 billion Aon Benfield says

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