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Insured losses from US storms top $1.5bn

April storms caused $2.3 billion of economic damage in the US, with public and private insurers expected to pay at least $1.5 billion in related claims, according to a report by Aon Benfield.

Five separate storm systems caused severe thunderstorms across the US during the month, the strongest of which affected the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast, with nearly 70 tornado touchdowns and up to baseball-sized hail that damaged residential and commercial property and vehicles.

The same system led to snowfall in the Upper Midwest and New England, while dry conditions behind the storm caused major wildfires in the Plains, notably in Oklahoma.

Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team, presented the details on its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital adviser of Aon plc.

Michal Lorinc, an analyst within Impact Forecasting's Catastrophe Insight team, said: “As the peak of the severe weather season approaches in the United States, it is worth highlighting the impact of the thunderstorm peril in Europe.

“As in the US, hail has been particularly damaging to European residential and commercial property, as well as vehicles, with several historical events prompting insurance payouts in excess of a billion euros. Given this risk, Impact Forecasting will soon release a hail model that includes coverage for several European countries, to help our clients better prepare for the potential events.”

Around the world there were a number of other natural disaster events in April, including flooding in Kenya which killed at least 78 people, and caused extensive water damage to homes, cropland, and infrastructure. Regional governments indicated that total economic damage would near $350 million.

Further flooding and casualties were noted in the African nations of Somalia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Rwanda, damaging more than 10,000 homes.

Extended cold and snow in China affected nearly 1.54 million acres of cropland. Total economic losses were estimated at $1.5 billion, primarily to the agricultural sector.

Winter weather in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec resulted in total combined economic losses in excess of $360 million, with insurance losses expect to exceed $180 million.

Torrential rainfall over the Hawaiian Islands led to widespread flooding, with at least 532 homes damaged or destroyed. The state government allocated at least $125 million to flood repairs.

Tropical Cyclones Josie and Keni impacted the Fijian islands. Combined damage to physical property, agriculture and infrastructure was estimated at more than S10 million.

Kyle Allen walks his parents' property in Canton, Texas after severe storms including tornadoes swept through several small towns in East Texas last month. April storms in the US caused economic damage estimated at $2.3 billion (Photograph by Sarah Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph via AP)

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Published May 14, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated May 14, 2018 at 12:23 am)

Insured losses from US storms top $1.5bn

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