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Global flood events in March result in $8 billion of economic losses: Aon

9th April 2019 - Author: Luke Gallin

Flooding events across the world in the month of March has resulted in economic losses of roughly $8 billion, with approximately half of this coming from events that hit the U.S., according to global insurance and reinsurance broker, Aon.

Flooding in Darlington, Wisconsin on 14 March. Source: Dave Kettering/AP

Flooding in Darlington, Wisconsin on 14 March. Source: Dave Kettering/AP

Aon’s monthly global catastrophe report highlights numerous flood events, which, combined are expected to drive an economic loss upwards of $8 billion.

Parts of the U.S. experienced heavy snowfall and rain, record temperatures, severe thunderstorms and hurricane-force synoptic winds, with historic river flooding impacting the Missouri and Mississippi River Basin. Aon says that total economic losses were estimated at more than $4 billion, with up to $1 billion in claims.

In Canada, heavy rainfall, warming temperatures and melting snow resulted in flooding in Ontario and Quebec, with economic losses estimated at CA$150 million, with insurers paying claims up to CA$45 million.

Michal Lörinc, Senior Catastrophe Analyst at Aon’s Impact Forecasting, said: “The major catastrophe events of March highlighted the continued vulnerabilities which exist in both developed and emerging markets. The multi-billion-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.

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“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.”

Other flood events around the world in the month of March include:

  • Torrential rainfall led to flooding throughout Sao Paulo in Brazil and closing a prominent auto factory due to water intrusion. Heavy rain also swept across Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador.
  • Weeks of torrential rainfall led to extensive flooding in dozens of Iranian provinces, killing at least 70 people. Total economic losses were unofficially estimated by local government officials at up to IRR150 trillion (USD3.6 billion; Market Exchange Rate / USD1.1 billion; Unofficial Iran Exchange Rate*).
  • KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa was impacted by strong thunderstorms. The worst flooding was noted in KwaMashu, Inanda, and Verulam. Further, at least 27 people were left dead or missing in Angola.
  • Heavy rains impacted six provinces of Afghanistan, damaging 4,000 houses. The same system also brought flooding to Pakistan.
  • Flooding rains led to inundation and landslide damage in Indonesia’s West Manggarai region. Among the worst damage and human cost was in Jayapura Regency.
  • Some 45 people were killed across 13 provinces in Afghanistan due to flash flooding and landslides. Nearly 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and thousands of acres of farmland were submerged.
  • Severe thunderstorms swept across parts of Nepal and India with the worst impacts in Bara district due to damaging winds and heavy rain. Nearly 2,400 homes and 5,800 hectares (14,000 acres) of cropland was damaged.
  • A pre-monsoon thunderstorm struck parts of Bangladesh bringing winds, rain and hail-storm to Dhaka.
  • Record 48-hour rainfall caused local flooding along New Zealand’s West Coast. Damage to infrastructure and property was expected to reach into the millions (USD).
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