Filed Under:Claims, Catastrophe & Restoration

December storms cost insurers more than $4 billion

An emergency vehicle drives through a neighborhood in Rowlett, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, the morning after it was struck by a tornado. At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in apparently strong tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area and caused substantial damage this weekend.(Photo: Rex C. Curry/AP Photo)
An emergency vehicle drives through a neighborhood in Rowlett, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, the morning after it was struck by a tornado. At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in apparently strong tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area and caused substantial damage this weekend.(Photo: Rex C. Curry/AP Photo)

Significant storms in the United States and in the United Kingdom last month insurers cost more than $4 billion, according to the December Global Catastrophe Recap report from Chicago-based Impact Forecasting.

The report shows that a complex weather pattern affected multiple regions of the United States, killing at least 64 people. Parts of the Midwest, Plains, Southeast, Rockies and Northeast were all affect by inclement weather, though Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Indiana were among the hardest-hit.

Impact Forecasting, which is a subsidiary of London-based Aon plc, says estimates suggest that total economic losses from the weather events during the month will exceed $4 billion, with insured losses likely to approach or exceed $2 billion. The Insurance Council of Texas reported losses of $1.2 billion in the Dallas area alone.

The severe weather pattern resulted in at least 58 tornado touch-downs, historic flooding in the Mississippi Valley and Midwest, and record snowfall and ice that led to extensive travel disruption, as well as hail and damaging winds, the report said.

Related: Christmas storms, tornadoes kill at least 43

Meanwhile, rainfall from a series of North Atlantic storm systems led to extensive flooding across the United Kingdom and Ireland throughout the month. The arrival of windstorms brought even more flood and wind damage. The hardest-hit areas included a large swath of southern Scotland, northern England, and Wales, where thousands of homes endured varying levels of flood inundation.

Various published reports, including from the Association of British Insurers, indicated that preliminary insured losses in the U.K. were expected to exceed $2.2 billion, while overall economic losses were forecast to be around $4 billion, the report said.

Other natural hazard events occurring in December included:

Argentina flood

A couple sits on the balcony of their flooded home in Concordia, Argentina, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. The flooding, caused by heavy rains and bulging rivers, come at the beginning of the Southern Hemisphere's summer months. Neighboring Paraguay has been hardest hit, with 100,000 evacuating. Several thousand have also been evacuated in Uruguay and southern Brazil. (Photo: Natacha Pisarenko/AP Photo)

South America

Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil endured their worst flooding in at least 50 years, which killed at least 16 people and resulted in preliminary economic loss estimates in excess of $200 million.

Philippines typhoon

Filipino worker 36-year-old Michael Alinsuot works on a truck's wheel along a flooded street during rain caused by Typhoon Melor in suburban Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Typhoon Melor left at least one person dead and wide areas without power as it crossed over the central Philippines .(Photo: Aaron Favila/AP Photo)

Asia

Typhoon Melor made multiple landfalls in the Philippines, killing at least 42 people and injuring 24 others. The Philippines’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center reported economic damages to agriculture and infrastructure alone at $140 million.

Australia wildfire

Bushfires on Christmas Day forced residents and holidaymakers to flee and destroyed 116 residences. (Screen capture from the BBC)

Australia

A wildfire in the state of Victoria destroyed at least 116 homes. The Insurance Council of Australia declared an insurance catastrophe, with preliminary insured losses listed at $38 million, and total economic losses expected to exceed $100 million.

Related: Aussie wildfire insurance losses hit $38M, set to climb

Ethiopia drought

In this photo from Monday Dec. 14, 2015, families begin their journey home from the Estayesh Food Distribution Site in Denkena Kebele, Meket Woreda, Ethiopia. The United States government has announced $88 million to help feed hungry people in drought affected areas of Ethiopia, bringing the total number of humanitarian aid provided to the country in 2015 to more than $435 million. The announcement came as the Ethiopian government is appealing for $1.4 billion from the international community and donors to help feed more than 10 million people. (Photo: David R. Kahrmann/AP Photo)

Africa

The Ethiopian National Risk Management Coordination Commission announced that it sought $1.4 billion to deal with its worst drought in 30 years. At least 10 million people were affected.

Related: Floodwaters threaten 17 million residents

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