European windstorm Christian was the largest insurance market catastrophe loss event of the month of October, according to Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe model development center at reinsurance broker Aon Benfield.
The latest monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report from Impact Forecasting looks at the catastrophe events which struck around the globe during the month of October and concludes that Christian was the most impactful to insurers, with reports from insurers suggesting that payouts are likely to breach the €1 billion ($1.35 billion) mark.
Adam Podlaha, Head of Impact Forecasting, commented; “The recent windstorm Christian serves as a reminder of the peak zone status for this peril in Europe and the need to constantly understand its risk. It has given us the opportunity to test various components of the newly developed Impact Forecasting windstorm model for Europe. We also had the chance to use third party hazard forecast data to estimate the possible losses even before the storm’s initial landfall. This was proven by the fact that we were able to estimate the magnitude of the event two days prior to Christian arriving in the United Kingdom.”
Yet again October showed the wide gap between economic and insured losses in many other regions of the world, as impacts in Asia from typhoons and earthquakes caused significant economic impact, but minimal insurance industry impact. After the devastating impact of typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines this weekend, the need to close this gap becomes even more apparent and insurers and reinsurers need to take key roles in this.
Other October catastrophe events of note from Impact Forecasting’s report include:
Cyclone Phailin, the strongest system to make landfall in India since 1999, came ashore in the eastern state of Odisha. At least 44 people were killed. Heavy rainfall, an estimated 3.5-meter (11.0-foot) storm surge, and powerful winds led to catastrophic damage to more than 430,000 homes and 668,000 hectares (1.65 million) acres of cropland. Economic losses were estimated at INR65 billion ($1.1 billion). The General Insurance Corporation of India cited insured losses of at least INR10 billion ($162 million) – primarily associated with crop losses.
Typhoon Fitow made landfall in China after first skirting Japan’s southern Ryukyu Islands. At least eight people were killed. Significant damage was inflicted in the Chinese provincial regions of Fujian, Zhejiang and Shanghai as a large storm surge, winds gusting beyond 160 kph (100 mph) and torrential rainfall led to nearly 95,000 homes being damaged and 75,000 hectares (185,000 acres) of cropland submerged. The Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) cited economic losses at CNY41 billion ($6.7 billion).
Additional typhoon impacts in Asia during October were registered in association with Typhoon Nari (34 deaths and $153 million in economic losses in the Philippines and Vietnam), Typhoon Wipha (38 deaths, 107 injuries and nearly 6,500 homes damaged in Japan), and Typhoon Krosa (three dead and 28,220 homes damaged in the Philippines).
According to data from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), the month of October saw a record seven typhoons develop in the Western Pacific Ocean Basin. The 2013 typhoon season has delivered record numbers of storms and after Haiyan severe levels of devastation, showing the need for this peril to be better served by the reinsurance market.
More than 100 bushfires occurred across Australia’s New South Wales (NSW). Two people were killed while 330 homes and 51 other buildings were damaged or destroyed. The Insurance Council of Australia declared a catastrophe and noted that at least 1,041 claims had been filed with payouts in excess of AUD145 million ($139 million). Total economic losses will be higher.
A powerful earthquake struck the central Philippines, killing at least 222 people and injuring 976 others. Significant damage was reported in the central provinces of Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor, where 73,002 homes and thousands of commercial structures and churches were damaged or destroyed. The government listed damage and reconstruction costs at PHP7.0 billion ($163 million).
In the United States, an early season winter storm brought record snowfall to portions of the Rockies and the High Plains. In South Dakota, the snowfall caused a substantial number of cattle to perish. The same system also spawned an EF-4 tornado in Wayne, Nebraska. Economic losses were estimated at $100 million.
A separate system spawned 40 tornado touchdowns at the end of October, though much of the damage was due to straight-line winds and flooding across parts of the Plains, Midwest, Ohio Valley and the Northeast.
You can access the full report via this press release.
For our other coverage of European windstorm Christian, read these articles: