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November storms raise Atlantic season financial toll: Aon

11th December 2020 - Author: Luke Gallin

Aon’s November monthly Global Catastrophe report highlights an estimated $9 billion in additional losses as a result of North America hurricane landfalls in the period, as well as record-setting tropical cyclones.

Hurricane EtaAfter making landfall and driving significant losses in Nicaragua, Hurricane Eta then moved to Honduras and Guatemala, subsequently making a second landfall in south central Cuba as a tropical storm.

In Central America, Aon notes that Eta resulted in economic losses of almost $7 billion, the majority of which were uninsured.

The storm later made two landfalls in Florida as a tropical storm, resulting in heavy rainfall and flash flooding, storm surge, and tropical storm-force wind gusts across the region. Overall, US economic losses were put at around $1.1 billion, of which roughly 50% is covered by public and private insurers.

Later in the month, Hurricane Iota became the first Category 5 hurricane of the extremely active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, making landfall in Nicaragua on November 16th. Iota brought dangerous coastal and inland flooding in addition to high wind across Central America.

Aon states that with Hurricane Iota, damage was compounded as many of the areas hit by the storm were still recovering from the impacts of Eta. Overall, economic losses from Iota are expected to reach around $1.25 billion, the majority of which will not be covered by insurance.

Alongside continued activity in the Atlantic basin, Asia experienced the strongest storm at landfall in recorded history, from Super Typhoon Goni. At its peak, says Aon, Goni attained one-minute average sustained winds of 315 kph (195 mph), before making landfall near Bato town in Catanduanes Province of the Philippines.

The storm claimed the lives of at least 31 people and a further 400 were injured. Some 250,000 homes and thousands of other structures were damaged or destroyed, and a large part of agricultural land was also affected, notes the broker.

According to Aon, economic losses to agriculture and infrastructure were estimated at PHP20 billion ($415 million), against an overall economic toll expected to near the $1 billion mark.

Michal Lörinc, catastrophe analyst for Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, commented: “While not historically one of the most active months for tropical cyclones, November 2020 set multiple records. Most notable was the landfall of Typhoon Goni in the Philippines, which unofficially came ashore as the strongest landfalling global storm on record.

“Hurricanes Eta and Iota became two of the fastest-intensifying storms in the Atlantic, and Iota was the latest-forming Category 5 storm on record for the basin. While 2020 storms have not set any new financial loss milestones, the scientific records serve as a reminder of the risks posed to both developed and emerging markets.”

While Eta, Iota, and Goni were the most notable events of the month, Aon’s latest report also highlights numerous other natural hazard events that took place during November.

This includes four notable severe weather outbreaks in the U.S. with straight-line winds, tornadoes and hail; extremely intense rainfall in the Vatican Community region in eastern Spain; the impacts of tropical cyclone Gati in Somalia; and also typhoon Vamco, which crossed the Philippines before striking Vietnam.

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