January Severe Weather in U.S. Cost Insurers More than $1B: Aon

February 9, 2017

Major weather and flood events in the U.S. during January will cost the insurance industry more than $1 billion as tornadoes hit a 17-year high, according a report published by Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team.

The most prolific event occurred during the second half of the month after nearly 80 confirmed tornadoes touched down in the Southeast, said the Aon Benfield report titled “Global Catastrophe Recap – January 2017.”

The hardest-hit states were Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida as thousands of homes, businesses and other structures were damaged or destroyed, the report said, noting that states of emergency were declared in Mississippi and Georgia.

The U.S. National Weather Service preliminarily confirmed that at least 130 tornadoes touched down in the U.S. during the month – the highest number of January tornadoes since 1999, when 212 tornadoes touched down, the report added.

Total combined economic losses from the two events in the Southeast (January 1-3 and 18-23) were expected to exceed US$1.0 billion, while the insured portion will minimally be in the hundreds of millions, Impact Forecasting affirmed.

Also during the month, consecutive winter storms brought extreme precipitation across the U.S. West, where the most significant damage was recorded in California due to flash flooding, mudslides and debris flows. Total economic losses from the early January event were expected to approach US$700 million, while public and private insurance losses were listed around US$300 million, the report said.

Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting director and meteorologist, said: “January proved to be a highly active month for global natural hazards compared to recent years, especially when we look at the events in the U.S., where the powerful thunderstorms and winter storms had a devastating effect on people and communities, as well as causing a significant economic loss for [the] country.”

During the month, severe weather events in the U.S. killed 27 people.

The Impact Forecasting report detailed additional natural catastrophe events that occurred across the global during January, which include:

The full Impact Forecasting January 2017 Global Catastrophe Recap report, can be viewed on the Aon website.

Source: Impact Forecasting/Aon