Speeding toward Global Catastrophe, disasterExtreme August flooding in Louisiana and the Midwest took its toll in August, causing between $10 billion and $15 billion in economic losses, according to Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting.

Public and private insured losses should be much less, in the low-digit single billions, Impact Forecasting’s monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report said.

Why would insured losses be so low? That’s because of “regionally low participation” in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP, Impact Forecasting said. Because of this trend, more than 80 percent of damaged homes in the region don’t have flood insurance, according to the report.

Heavy rains across parts of the United States Gulf Coast and Midwest caused catastrophic flood damage in several communities during the month, killing at least 13 people.

The Louisiana and Midwest floods weren’t the only major August weather event. Impact Forecasting notes the others in its report:

  • Italy earthquake. Asevere magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck central Italy, killing 296 people and causing catastrophic damage in the hardest-hit towns of Amatrice, Accumoli, Pescara del Tronto, Arquata del Tronto, and Posta.

Total economic damage was estimated to reach into the billions of dollars. But insured loss portion was expected to be a fraction of the overall cost, due to low insurance market penetration.

  • India Flooding. In India, continued flooding brought the death toll for the season to 600 as more than 100,000 homes and other structures were destroyed. Total economic losses were estimated at $462 million.
  • Major Global Flooding. China, Pakistan, Vietnam, Philippines, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Sudan, South Sudan, and Macedonia all cited major flood events during the month.
  • More earthquakes. Notable earthquake events were reported in Myanmar and Peru.
  • Hurricane Earl. Hurricane Earl made separate landfalls in Belize and Mexico after first tracking through the Caribbean Sea, killing at least 67 people. Total economic losses were estimated at $250 million, including in Mexico ($132 million) and Belize ($110 million).
  • Tropical storms. Tropical cyclone impacts Typhoon Nida (Philippines, China, Vietnam), Tropical Storm Dianmu (China, Vietnam), Tropical Storm Mindulle (Japan), and Typhoon Lionrock (Japan, China, Korean Peninsula).
  • Wildfires in France. Wildfires burning in southern France, mainland Portugal, and on the islands of Madeira (Portugal) and La Palma (Spain) claimed at least five lives. In Portugal alone, the fires charred 115,000 hectares (284,000 acres) of land as total economic damage was listed at EUR200 million ($226 million).
  • California Wildfires. Major California wildfires prompted evacuations and destroyed hundreds of homes. Economic losses were forecast at above $100 million; the cost to fight the fires was more than $50 million alone.

Source: Impact Forecasting/Aon Benfield

Topics Catastrophe Windstorm Wildfire Flood Louisiana Homeowners China Japan