Feb. Proves Costly & Deadly Month

NU Online News Service, March 8, 12:00 p.m. EST

February was a costly and deadly month around the globe with more than 800 deaths in Europe alone and economic losses totaling well over $1 billion, says a catastrophe recap report from Aon Benfield.

The reinsurance broker, a subsidiary of Chicago-based insurance broker Aon, says in the United States alone there were 15 deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage from severe weather outbreaks in the Midwest, Southeast and Plains states.

While tornadoes were the front page story, regions of the United States also suffered through deadly winter storms and thunderstorms producing heavy hail accumulation in parts of the country.

Severe weather in mid-February produced damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornado touchdowns in the southern Plains. The report says hundreds of structures were damaged but the economic loss was not known at the time of the report’s publication yesterday.

Strong winter weather on the 24th through the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states produced four tornadoes that touched down in South Carolina and Virginia damaging dozens of homes. High winds and damaging winds that day from Mississippi to Delaware led to additional damage to homes and vehicles. The economic loss was put in the millions of dollars.

The worst severe weather outbreak was the tornadoes on the 28th and 29th killing 13 people and injuring more than 200. Aon Benfield says the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center confirmed 36 tornadoes in addition to hail and high winds through 10 states. Economic damage was put in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Catastrophe modeler EQECAT says the figure for insured loss could reach as high as $2 billion.

Flooding in South America—Peru, Brazil and Bolivia—from torrential rains claimed more than 48,000 structures and left thousands of families homeless. Economic damage was placed in excess of $10 million.

Europe was hit hard by winter weather that was estimated to have taken more than 824 lives. Bitter cold and snow fell over eastern and central Europe from late January through the middle of February. Economic loss in Serbia alone was placed at $660 million. Losses are expected to go higher as winter thaw is expected to bring flooding.

In Africa, Cyclone Giovanna struck Madagascar on the 14th, killing 35 and injuring 81. More than 50,000 homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed. Total economic damage was put at $100 million.

Nigeria suffered through a powerful thunderstorm bringing torrential rains and high, gusty winds on the 13th killing 15. More than 3,000 homes were damaged or destroyed bringing total economic damage to $1 million.

The Asia region suffered through a combination of severe winter weather in China, while in the Philippines suffered through an earthquake and flooding.

Among some of the notable events, heavy snows in the Tibet region on the 7th and 9th injured at least 650 people and damaged 10,000 homes resulting in total economic loss of around $20 million.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.7 on the 6th in the Philippines left 116 people dead or missing and injured 112 more. Among the hardest hit provinces was Negros Oriental on Central Visayas where Dumaguete city experienced extensive damage, says the report. The economic damage was put at close to $1 billion with total insured losses at around $100 million.

The southern portion of Queensland and northern New South Wales, Australia, suffered through rounds of rainfall that produced widespread river flooding. The floods produced economic loss of $919 million. The Insurance Council of Australia declared the events a catastrophe that produced 5,657 claims and payout estimated at $120 million.

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