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World catastrophic events : Aon monthly report

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Aon Benfield, the world’s premier reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor, released the latest edition of its Monthly Cat Recap report, which provides an analysis of worldwide catastrophic events in March.

Published by the company’s Impact Forecasting team, who evaluate global perils for the re/insurance industry, the report highlights that severe thunderstorms and flooding caused damage in Australia and the United States during the month. While the Chilean earthquake that struck on February 27th continued to dominate global news agendas, numerous other catastrophes occurred across the globe, including more than 10 instances of severe flooding and tropical storms.

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: “Following significant levels of catastrophe activity in the first two months of the year, March proceeded in the same vein with key economic regions being affected by heavy, prolonged periods of rain which caused widespread disruption and considerable economic and insured loss. These events round off one of the costliest ever first quarters for the re/insurance industry, during which individuals, communities and businesses have been severely, and often devastatingly impacted.”

In the U.S., a slow-moving “Nor’easter” brought days of heavy rains and gusty winds across the Mid-Atlantic States and the Northeast between March 12th and 16th. At least 11 people died due to storm-related accidents and damages were estimated at an initial USD25 million. River flooding in the Northern Plains between the 13th and the 22nd caused at least USD14.7 million in losses in Minnesota. At least 15 tornadoes touched down in the Carolinas and Florida on the 28th and 29th, causing at least USD4.4 million in damages.

A series of severe thunderstorms crossed the Australian state of Victoria on the 6th, bringing large hail up to tennis ball-size, high winds, lightning and flooding across the Melbourne area, causing economic and insured losses of more than AUD1 billion (USD910 million). In Western Australia, a cluster of severe thunderstorms struck the greater Perth metropolitan area on March 22nd, causing over AUD650 million (USD598 million) in damages.

In other catastrophe news, at least 86 people died after flooding and landslides damaged and destroyed villages in eastern portions of Uganda on March 2nd. Local markets were destroyed, many homes and some villages were buried by landslides and numerous roads were blocked. Heavy rains between the 6th and 12th killed at least 20 people in Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda. Tropical Storm Hubert made landfall on Madagascar’s eastern coast on the 10th, killing at least 83 people and damaging at least 7,000 structures.