The vast majority of global natural disasters during July were the result of severe flooding across the Asian region, bringing more than $10 billion in economic damages, according to a report published by Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team.

Most of those economic, or uninsured losses, occurred in China, which reported more than US$10 billion in losses as a result of seasonal flooding in the Yangtze River Basin, said the report titled “Global Catastrophe Recap – July 2017.”

During the month, extensive flooding and landslides in Japan brought economic losses of nearly $1 billion when Tropical Storm Nanmadol made landfall, damaging or destroying more than 2,600 homes and other structures in the prefectures of Fukuoka, Oita, Shimane, Kumamoto and Hiroshima prefectures, the report continued.

Meanwhile, in parts of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, monsoon rains killed hundreds and caused major damage to structures, agriculture and infrastructure, said the report, noting that total economic damage was minimally listed in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In addition, seasonal rains in Thailand during the month killed at least 23 people and caused economic damage in excess of US$300 million, while flash flooding in northern Switzerland prompted claims of nearly US$90 million.

July Thunderstorms

Two separate thunderstorms in Turkey caused considerable damage as a result of large hail and flooding throughout the greater Istanbul metro region. Turkish insurers expect combined claims payouts reaching US$440 million, said the report, although overall economic losses will be higher.

Additional severe thunderstorms and subsequent flooding affected many sections of the United States. The report cited damage and casualties from large hail, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flash floods in the Midwest, Plains, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and the desert Southwest. Total combined economic and insured losses were expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the report noted.

“There was no shortage of global natural disasters during July, though the vast majority were reported in Asia where enhanced seasonal monsoon rainfall over China and throughout South Asia led to significant flooding that caused considerable loss of life and billions of dollars of damage to property and agriculture,” commented Claire Darbinyan, Impact Forecasting associate director and meteorologist.

“Given low levels of insurance penetration in the region, the majority of these losses are expected to be uninsured, highlighting the considerable protection gap and the potential for re/insurers to further offer their specialist risk management skills,” she continued in a statement.

Other natural hazard events to have occurred elsewhere during July include:

  • Major severe weather events were noted in Canada, China and Europe.
  • Officials in Italy reported that prolonged drought conditions has cost the economy some €2.0 billion (US$2.3 billion) in economic losses. Production of vegetables, fruits, cereals, vines, and olives were all affected by the abnormally dry conditions which prevailed across the country during the first half of 2017.
  • Extreme heat and drought conditions led to wildfire damage across parts of the United States, Canada, Portugal, France and the Balkans.
  • Tropical Storm Talas made landfall in Vietnam, causing US$44 million in economic damage.
  • Strong earthquakes were recorded in the Philippines, Greece, Turkey and China.
  • A winter storm brought high winds and flooding to New Zealand with damage estimated in the millions of U.S. dollars.

Source: Impact Forecasting/Aon Benfield