March Weather Delivers $1.8B in Insured Losses for U.S.

NU Online News Service, April 6, 12:58 p.m. EST

U.S. insured losses in March from severe weather are expected to pass $1.8 billion, according to Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe-model-development center for Aon Benfield.

U.S. events in the quarter included a severe weather outbreak through parts of the Midwest, the Tennessee Valley and the Southeast during the first week of March, which spawned at least 65 tornadoes and caused over $1.1 billion in insured losses from over 170,000 claims.

Another system during the month hit the Great Lakes, and included a tornado that damaged or destroyed over 207 homes in Dexter, Michigan. That event is expected to cause about $150 million in insured losses from about 20,000 claims.

Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, says, “Following an active 2011 U.S. severe weather season, the first quarter of 2012 has also proven itself to be markedly busy. Through the first three months of 2012, we have already sustained more than $1.8 billion in insured losses from convective storm events as we enter the climatologically most active severe weather months of the year. Despite the heightened activity thus far, it is nearly impossible to forecast and project losses for the rest of 2012." 

Elsewhere around the world during the month, a magnitude-7.4 earthquake in central and southern Mexico damaged around 44,000 homes and is expected to cause around $163 million in insured losses.

A magnitude-7.1 quake struck central Chile, and was labeled an aftershock from February 2010's magnitude-8.8 event. Economic losses are expected to be below $100 million, and no insured-loss estimate was provided.

Another earthquake struck China's Xinjiang region—this one a magnitude-5.8 temblor. It left 36,641 people homeless and caused direct economic losses of $82.7 million. No insured-loss estimate was given for this event.

Flooding in portions of Australia's New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria regions between the end of February and the first half of March is expected to cause about $112.5 million in insured losses.

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