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Drought and wildfires drive global catastrophe losses in July: Impact Forecasting

10th August 2018 - Author: Matt Sheehan

Global insured catastrophe losses in July were primarily driven by severe droughts and heatwaves across Northern Europe, as well as major wildfires that caused extensive damage and loss of life in Northern California and Greece, according to Impact Forecasting, Aon’s catastrophe risk modeller.

droughtImpact Forecasting’s report estimated that ongoing drought in many areas of Northern Europe could result in losses exceeding US $4 billion, with German farmers alone likely to face economic losses of €2.5 billion (US $2.9 billion).

Drought has also affected agriculture in Australia and Central America, and an extensive heatwave left 150 people dead in Japan and South Korea.

Meanwhile, in California the Carr wildfire became one of the most destructive wildfires ever recorded, destroying around 1,700 structures and killing 7 people, with insured losses likely to exceed $1 billion.

The Mendocino Complex fire also became the largest wildfire in California’s history, although the number of structures destroyed remains far lower and no fatalities have been recorded.

In Greece, the Eastern Attica region experienced the deadliest European wildfire event since 1900, which killed 92 people and destroyed at least 905 structures, with another 740 damaged. Elsewhere in Europe, Sweden also experienced a significant wildfire outbreak that caused in excess of $100 million of damage.

Other notable global events included the flooding and mudslides in Japan, which left 230 people dead or missing and destroyed or damaged around 50,000 homes. The General Insurance Association of Japan says 48,000 claims have already been paid with the preliminary payout valued at $711 million.

Flooding was also experienced in Arizona and the U.S Northeast, as well as Nigeria, Russia’s Far East, India, and in countries across Southeastern Asia, such as Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Philippines. Seasonal flooding in China also caused economic losses of around $1 billion.

Additionally, multiple typhoons (including Typhoon Maria) caused notable damage to some countries in the Western Pacific Ocean Basin, while major earthquakes in Iran and Indonesia also caused severe damage and injuries.

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