Log In

Reset Password

Volatile March weather costs insurers

Economic losses: a man passes through a section of road damaged by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, last month. Economic damage from volatile weather, particularly flooding, shows infrastructure in developed and emerging markets is unable to handle large scale water inundation (Photograph by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP)

Volatile weather events that brought extreme flooding to North America, Southern Africa and Asia caused economic losses estimated at up to $8 billion in March — including up to $1 billion of insured losses in the US.

In light of the sizeable impact of those events, resilience and risk mitigation planning in public and private sectors will be key to dealing with possible repeat occurrences.

“The major catastrophe events of March highlighted the continued vulnerabilities which exist in both developed and emerging markets,” Michal Lörinc, senior catastrophe analyst at Aon’s Impact Forecasting, said.

“The multibillion-dollar impacts from flooding in the United States, Iran, and Cyclone Idai in Southern Africa were each enhanced by infrastructure unable to handle the large scale of water inundation.

“In an increasingly volatile era for weather events and their impacts on a growing exposure, it will be critical that resilience and risk mitigation planning will become more pronounced in the public and private sectors.”

More than 1,100 people were killed when Idai, with winds reaching 115mph, brought storm surge and heavy rain to Mozambique and flooding to Zimbabwe and Malawi. It affected more than three million people and caused economic damage of about $1 billion to the infrastructure of Mozambique alone.

Last month, the US suffered economic losses of $4 billion, with up to $1 billion in insurance claims, after weather events across the country, including historic river flooding across the Missouri and Mississippi River basins.

Torrential rain and flooding caused major losses in other parts of the world, including Brazil, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Indonesia and Canada.

The impact of the natural disasters are included in Aon plc’s Global Catastrophe Recap for March.

Winter storm Eberhard, which brought strong winds and flooding to Germany, and parts of France and Denmark, last month, caused insured losses estimated at between €900 million ($1.01 billion) and €1.5 billion, according to catastrophe risk-modelling company AIR Worldwide.