The U.S. dealt with $3 billion in economic losses during March, thanks to a number of winter storms that caused multistate damage, travel delays and business interruption problems, according to Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting.

Public and private insurers are expected to cover about two-thirds of the total cost, Impact Forecasting said.

Most of those losses came from a Nor’easter that hit the U.S. East Coast from March 1-3, killing at least nine people. Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Maryland declared states of emergency, and the winds and storm surge caused massive damage. Power outages struck more than 2.4 million people in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Economic losses, including net loss business interruption, came in at about $2 billion, with public and private insurers likely paying out more than $1.4 billion.

There was also another coastal winter storm that slammed the East Coast on March 7-8, leading to heavy snowfall in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine. At least 3,000 flights were canceled and legions of highways and interests were closed during the storm. More than one million people also lost power, particularly in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York. This storm caused $500 million in economic losses with private and public insurer payouts likely hitting $300 million, Impact Forecasting said.

Yet another coastal storm hit the Northeast on March 12-15, bringing massive snowfall to multiple states, heavy winds and more than 250,000 power outages. Business interruption continued with thousands of flight delays and cancellations. Impact Forecasting said that economic and insured losses went “well into the millions.”

A few days later, from March 18-20, a storm struck areas including Texas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, with damage caused by large hail and “damaging, straight-line winds.” Buildings sustained shattered windows, dented roofs, and there were plenty of downed trees. On top of that, another Nor’easter hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast during this period, causing major business disruption and transit snafus. Economic losses from this wave should hit the hundreds of millions of dollars, Impact Forecasting said.

As well, major rain brought flooding and mudslides to California on March 21-22. While there were no fatalities, several inches of rain led to major evacuations in Santa Barbara County, mudslides, damage to infrastructure and flooded structures/vehicles. Economic damage: “the low millions.”

Globally, there were also drought events in Argentina and Uruguay that harmed agriculture, causing nearly $4 billion in economic losses. Other events during the month included earthquake aftershocks in Papua New Guinea, a tropical storm in Madagascar, two extratropical cyclones in the Iberian Peninsula, and flooding in other parts of the U.S., Brazil, Turkey, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Lesotho and China.

The full report is the Impact Forecasting March 2018 Global Catastrophe Recap report.

Source: Aon Benfield/Impact Forecasting

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