Flooding and inland storms led to multi-billion-dollar economic loss in western and southern Europe during November, according to insurance broker Aon’s latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report.
Italy suffered the majority of losses as an active stretch of cyclonic weather resulted in significant flooding and severe weather. The historical center of Venice, Italy, was flooded on November 12 by the second highest tide on record since 1923, while a pattern of flooding and severe weather from November 11-19 caused additional widespread damage across Italy and parts of Austria.
Total aggregated economic losses, including the effects of tidal flooding in Venice, were tentatively estimated at EUR1.7 billion (USD1.9 billion), with insurers in Austria alone citing losses reaching well into the tens of millions EUR. Further flooding events in France, Italy and England during November resulted in combined economic losses expected to exceed USD1.0 billion.
According to Michal Lorinc, catastrophe analyst within Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, despite a costly November resulting from major flooding events in the UK, France, Italy and Austria, European insurers have generally endured manageable losses thus far in 2019. Also, the flood peril has recently been active across East Africa as excessive rainfall and flooding has led to significant humanitarian impacts.
“The issue of financial maturity remains an important topic in different parts of the world,” Lorinc said. “The insurance industry is expected to play an even more integral role in helping to introduce sustainable and tailored products and solutions to further promote resilience and preparedness.”
Meanwhile, the Insurance Council of Australia declared two catastrophes due to bushfires and hail. As of November 22, at least 1,525 claims had been filed due to the fires, with insured losses listed at AUD165 million (USD112 million). Nearly 16,000 claims were reported due to the hailstorm in Queensland, with losses estimates at AUD120 million (USD82 million). The overall economic cost was even higher.
Cyclone Matmo – also locally named “Bulbul” – made landfall near the India and Bangladesh border on November 9 (UTC), killing at least 39 people. Total economic losses were preliminarily estimated at upwards of INR238 billion (USD3.3 billion).
Other natural hazard events to have occurred in November include:
- At least three early season winter storms swept across most of the United States during the month of November. Heavy snowfall, unusually cold temperatures for this time of year, freezing rain, excessive rainfall, and gusty synoptic winds led to notable damage. At least 19 people were killed. Total aggregated insured losses were expected to top USD100 million.
- A strong storm system affected parts of Canada from October 31 to November 2, causing extensive damage due to high winds and flooding. Total economic losses were estimated at up to CAD365 million (USD275 million).
- Heavy rains associated with the rainy season that spans from October to December have so far resulted in 20 fatalities in Colombia. According to local authorities, 43 homes were destroyed and 4,607 were damaged as of November 17, in multiple episodes of flooding and landslides since October.
- One of the strongest earthquakes on record struck Albania on November 26, causing severe damage and 51 fatalities. According to official assessments, at least 1,183 structures collapsed and nearly 10,000 sustained damage.
- Drought conditions worsened across South Africa during the month of November, as farmers and government officials worked to minimize crop impact. No fewer than 150,000 farms across the country were directly affected by the ongoing drought situation. Total direct economic costs associated with the drought neared ZAR2.0 billion (USD135 million).
*This story ran previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.