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Thunderstorms & Wildfires Bring Destruction

At least 28 people were killed following a prolonged stretch of severe weather in central and eastern U.S. states, which included a violent derecho – a fast-moving, long-lived cluster of intense thunderstorms – that claimed at least 15 lives, caused extensive blackouts, and resulted in more than 50,000 insurance claims.  This according to a report by Aon Benfield, the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc, that released the latest edition of its Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during June, 2012.

Published by Impact Forecasting, the firm's catastrophe model development center of excellence, the report reveals that several natural disaster events occurred across the United States during the month, the most costly being a severe weather event that spawned up to baseball-sized hail in parts of Texas and New Mexico. According to the Insurance Council of Texas, insured losses in the state will exceed USD1 billion, with more than 100,000 claims filed by the end of June.

In Colorado, two major wildfires ignited and burned during the month. The Waldo Canyon Fire in the Colorado Springs region became the most damaging blaze in state history, killing at least two people, destroying 347 homes (with a combined housing market value of USD110.2 million) and damaging at least 50 others. Meanwhile, the High Park Fire outside of Fort Collins destroyed 259 homes and killed one person.

Steve Jakubowski, President of Impact Forecasting, said: "The Colorado wildfires proved to be the two most damaging fires in state history, and also two of the costliest." 

Also in the U.S., Tropical Storm Debby brought days of torrential rain and flooding to Florida, killing at least seven people. The weather system caused significant infrastructure damage and flooded more than 7,500 homes and businesses across the state. Very preliminary economic damages were listed at USD100 million.

Elsewhere, China sustained several natural disaster impacts during June. Flooding in nearly 20 provinces claimed more than 70 lives, damaged or destroyed 175,000 homes and caused an economic loss in excess of USD3 billion. Severe weather and multiple earthquakes caused additional fatalities and damage, and an economic loss of more than USD500 million.

Source: Aon Benfield, Impact Forecasting report – Global Catastrophe Recap report, June 2012.

Summary story by – Aon Benfield Cat Report: US Severe Weather Insurance Losses Near $2 Billion in June, July 10, 2012


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