Severe winter weather brings $1.8bn economic loss to Europe in March, according to Impact Forecasting global catastrophe report

Apr 04, 2013, 12:25 ET from Aon plc

CHICAGO, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe model development center of excellence at Aon Benfield, today releases the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during March 2013. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE: AON).


The report reveals that late-season winter weather affected much of Europe throughout the month, bringing an extended period of heavy snowfall, sub-freezing temperatures, high winds, ice and flooding. Among the hardest-hit areas were France, Germany and Ukraine, where snow accumulations topped 50 centimeters (19.7 inches).

At least 30 fatalities were reported across the continent and early total economic loss estimates stood at EUR1.4 billion (USD1.8 billion), including EUR706 million (USD914 million) for France alone. More than 100,000 insurance claims were filed in France, with auto claims surpassing EUR101 million (USD131 million).

Heavy snowfall engulfed northern sections of Japan between the end of February and early March. At least nine storm-related fatalities were recorded as snow depths up to 5.5 meters (16 feet) were seen in Hokkaido and northern Honshu, which resulted in local governments spending more than JPY1.36 billion (USD14.2 million) in clean-up costs.

Multiple winter storms also affected central and eastern sections of the United States, as an early March weather system killed five people and brought heavy snow and coastal flooding along the Eastern Seaboard. Another system at the end of the month brought nearly 20 inches (50 centimeters) of snow from the Rockies to the East Coast. Total combined economic losses from both systems were cited as less than USD100 million.

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: "The run of frequent winter weather we witnessed in January and February lingered across many of the major economies in the Northern Hemisphere in the month of March. However, the level of losses sustained has not been overwhelming for the industry despite the volume of events during the first quarter of 2013. Impact Forecasting continues to develop its winter storm catastrophe models for multiple territories, in order to help our clients plan for any potential losses they may face."

A strong derecho event (defined as a long-lived, intense squall line) left widespread hail and wind damage throughout the U.S. Southeast. Mississippi was amongst the hardest-hit states, where at least 18 counties sustained damage. The state insurance department estimated that as many as 50,000 claims would be filed. Total economic losses throughout the region exceeded USD250 million, while insurance losses reached approximately USD150 million.

Preliminary data from the U.S. Storm Prediction Center indicate that only 17 tornadoes touched down during the month, representing the fewest number of March tornadoes in the U.S. since 1978, when 17 tornado touchdowns were also recorded.

Meanwhile, severe weather prevailed in Asia, highlighted by a strong tornado that killed at least 35 people in Bangladesh's Brahmanbaria district.

In China, an extended stretch of hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes killed 29 people, damaged or destroyed 331,250 homes, and resulted in an economic loss estimated at USD443 million.

Several days of hail also left heavy damage in central and northern Vietnam.

Elsewhere, an F3 tornado struck Australia's northeast Victoria and southwest New South Wales during the month, injuring at least 25 people and causing economic losses estimated at AUD20 million (USD21 million).

Three people were killed in the Azores as high winds and torrential rains caused widespread damage on the islands of Terceira and Sao Miguel, with total economic damages listed at EUR35 million (USD45 million).

Heavy rainfall led to flooding and landslides across parts of South America. At least 30 people were killed in Brazil's southeastern state of Rio de Janeiro after 12 rivers overflowed their banks. In Colombia, 11,200 families were forced from their homes after the Tamana, Habita, Baudo and Ingara rivers overflowed.

Flooding and landslides were also recorded in Namibia, Mauritius, Indonesia, and China.

A magnitude-5.2 earthquake struck China's Yunnan Province, injuring at least 30 people. The tremor destroyed 2,108 homes and damaged an additional 83,434. Total economic losses were listed at CNY350 million (USD56 million).

To view the full Impact Forecasting March 2013 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please follow the link below:

To access the Catastrophe Insight website, please visit:            

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As a recognized leader in treaty, facultative and capital markets, Aon Benfield is redefining the role of the reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor. Through our notable expertise and industry-leading proprietary tools and products, we help our clients to redefine success. Aon Benfield offers unbiased capital advice and customized access to reinsurance and capital markets. As a trusted advocate, we provide local reach to the world's markets, an investment in innovative analytics, including catastrophe management, actuarial, and rating agency advisory, and the right professionals to advise clients in making the optimal capital choice for their business. With an international network of more than 80 offices in 50 countries, our worldwide client base is able to access a broad portfolio of integrated capital solutions and services. Learn more at

About Impact Forecasting® LLC

Impact Forecasting is a catastrophe modeling center of excellence whose seismologists, meteorologists, engineers, mathematicians, finance risk management and insurance professionals analyze the financial implications of natural and man-made catastrophes around the world.  Impact Forecasting's experts develop software tools and models that help clients understand risks from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires and terrorist attacks on property, casualty and crop insurers and reinsurers.  To find out more about Impact Forecasting® LLC, visit

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