Agent & Broker News

U.S. Storm Damage Causes Multi-Billion-Dollar Economic Impact in May


Cyclone Yaas kills at least 19 people in India; over 325,000 homes damaged or destroyed

CHICAGO, June 10, 2021 – Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, today launched the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of natural disaster events worldwide during May 2021.

The report reveals that U.S. insurers face a multi-billion-dollar payout, as convective storms resulted in extensive hail, tornado, wind and flood damage across a series of separate events during the month.

Of note was a severe storm that swept across the Plains, Lower and Middle Mississippi Valley, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic sections of the country from May 3-5. Total combined economic losses were anticipated to exceed $850 million, with most of the hail and wind-related damage being insured.

A series of frontal systems resulted in widespread severe weather from May 6-11, causing parts of the Plains, Middle and Lower Mississippi Valley and Southeast to be impacted by large hail, damaging straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding. Total economic losses were estimated at up to $350 million.

On May 17, flash flood emergencies were issued for localities in southeastern Texas and southern Louisiana. Concurrently, daily severe storms generated damaging hail, strong straight-line winds and brief tornadoes. Total economic losses from the severe weather and flooding on this day were estimated at $1.1 billion, with a large portion of the flood-related damage in Louisiana likely to be uninsured.

Meanwhile, India was hit by two tropical cyclones during the month: Tauktae, which made landfall in the state of Gujarat on May 17 and resulted in at least 198 fatalities in India and Sri Lanka, and an estimated economic cost of $1.5 billion; and Cyclone Yaas, which made landfall on May 26, causing at least 19 fatalities and more than 325,000 homes being damaged or destroyed. The Category 1 equivalent storm resulted in significant impacts in the states of Odisha and West Bengal, with economic losses in West Bengal alone estimated at INR200 billion ($2.7 billion).

Michal Lörinc, senior catastrophe analyst for Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, said: “Natural catastrophes continued to bring notable impacts to areas around the world in May, which is often the start of a transition towards tropical cyclone season in the Northern Hemisphere. While most focus is on the Atlantic Ocean, the most activity last month was found in the North Indian Ocean as two cyclones struck the east and west coasts of India in a matter of days. Proper planning and evacuations helped minimize the level of casualties, which once again highlights the importance of early warning systems. Such warnings also offer an opportunity to collaborate with the private sector to use tools that help further identify highly vulnerable locations.”

Further natural hazard events that occurred worldwide in May include:

  • Heavy rainfall associated with remnant influence from La Niña brought continued flooding along tributaries of the Amazon River in the Brazilian state of Amazonas throughout May. The flooding impacted thousands of structures and inundated vast expanses of agricultural land.
  • A prolonged stretch of rainfall in mid-May affected multiple countries in Central Europe. The event resulted in one fatality and damage to several thousands of properties, located mostly in rural communities. Aggregated economic losses were expected in the tens of millions (EUR).
  • A volcanic eruption on Mount Nyiragongo occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on May 22. Lava reached the city of Goma, prompting thousands of people to evacuate. At least 32 people were killed, and hundreds of homes were destroyed by the lava flow.
  • Two separate strong earthquakes struck China on May 21 and 22: a magnitude-6.1 tremor in Yunnan Province near Dali City killed three people and caused extensive damage to roughly 13,000 structures and economic losses of about $50 million; while the impacts of a magnitude-7.3 event in Qinghai Province were relatively minor, having occurred in a sparsely populated region.
  • Incessant rains from May 29 to June 1 triggered ‘one-in-100-year’ floods in New Zealand’s Canterbury Region, with additional impacts seen in the West Coast, Auckland and Otago. In addition to an extensive area of farmland left inundated, preliminary reports cited that thousands of homes, roads and bridges were either damaged or destroyed. Total economic losses were likely to run into the tens of millions (USD).

To view the full Impact Forecasting May 2021 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please follow the link:   

Along with the report, users can access current and historical natural catastrophe data and event analysis on Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight website, which is updated bi-monthly as new data becomes available:   

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Posted by IRL Staff


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