While the month of January delivered no single major catastropheloss, there were enough weather events to cause close to ahalf-billion dollars in losses worldwide, according to a reportreleased by Aon Benfield.

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The reinsurance broker says that winter-weather storms wreakedhavoc through Europe and the United States, while parts of Asiasuffered through rain and flooding. Combined, weather eventsthroughout the world took more than 400 lives, with the most lossof life occurring in the eastern sections of Europe—where severewinter temperatures are blamed for taking 306 lives.

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The report, “January 2012 Global Catastrophe Recap” from AonBenfield's predictive-modeler Impact Forecasting, says WindstormUlli hit the United Kingdom and Scandinavia and extendedinto Germany and Denmark in the early part of the month.The storm killed two people and caused widespread damage primarilyfrom high winds.

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Trees were felled, causing damage to homes, public structuresand vehicles—leading to thousands of claims throughout the region.Total damage is estimated to be approximately $306 million, thereport says.

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That storm was followed by Windstorm Andrea, which downed treesand power poles across the United Kingdom and portionsof Northern Europe.

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Heavy snows in Japan claimed 56 lives and injured 750 others,causing millions of dollars in damage.

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In the United States, multiple winter storms throughout thenation, plus a rare January tornado in the South, caused more than$150 million in damages. In Alabama alone, insured losses from atornado outbreak caused an estimated $30 million in insuredlosses.

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Turning to Asia, Indonesia suffered severe weather events,causing damage estimated at $30 million. Insured losses areexpected to be light. A tornado killed 14 people and wiped out2,000 homes through provinces of Jakarta, Central Java,East Java and West Java.

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There were also numerous instances of flooding and landslidesthroughout Asia, sections of Africa and Brazil.

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Wind and rains from Tropical Cyclone Funso took 30 lives inMozambique (no damage estimate was available), while TropicalCyclone Heidi did minimal damage in Western Australia.

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“Following an extremely active 2011, this year has already seenan elevated number of natural-disaster events,” Steve Jakubowski,president of Impact Forecasting, says in a statement. “However,contrary to last year, 2012 has thus far lacked what we would terma significant event.

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“Climatology and the current La Niña phase suggest that heavyrainfall and tropical cyclones are a threat for the SouthernHemisphere,” he adds.

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