Insurers to pay out up to $2bn for tornadoes
Insurers are likely to take a hit of between $1.5 billion and $2 billion from claims related to severe weather in the United States last month.
The estimate comes from Aon's Impact Forecasting, which tracked damage caused by several outbreaks of tornadoes, hail and thunderstorms.
The estimate comes after an Easter weekend of further devastation, with tornadoes sweeping across the southern states, leaving thousands of properties damaged and 19 people dead.
The March damage highlighted by Aon started with a string of tornadoes in central Tennessee on March 3, which killed at least 25 people.
This same convective storm system spawned additional tornadoes and large hail affecting Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas from March 2 to 5.
Aon said total economic losses just from this severe outbreak alone are estimated as more than $1.1 billion and about three-quarters of that is expected to be insured.
The second major weather outbreak last month brought more than 20 tornado touchdowns across central and eastern parts of the US on March 27 to 30, with Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Indiana the most affected states.
Total economic losses from this outbreak are estimated to be around $1 billion, with insurers and reinsurers likely to pick up the tab for most of the wind and hail-related damage.
Aon noted that another severe weather outbreak drove over $290 million of economic losses, while five additional outbreaks, which brought high winds, hail and flooding, generated economic losses in the low millions to tens of millions.
Steve Bowen, Director and Meteorologist within Aon's Impact Forecasting team, said: “As severe weather season accelerates towards its historical peak during the spring season, the United States endured many episodes of large hail, straight-line winds, and tornadoes that resulted in billions of dollars of economic damage and lives lost.
“Notable tornado touchdowns in populated metro areas such as Nashville and Jonesboro, only further debunked the myth that cities are less vulnerable to tornadic activity.”