Floods in China could result in US$4bn in damages for June

Catastrophe modelling team releases monthly report detailing damages from disasters in China, the US, and other locations worldwide

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The seasonal monsoon rains in central and southern China over the past month led to several instances of flooding, leading to over 130 people dying. Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team estimated in its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report the damage to exceed US$4bn.
The most damaging floods hit the Yangtze River basin, damaging over 200,000 houses, according to China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, and total economic losses reach US$4.4bn. However, due to low insurance penetration levels, insurance losses are expected to be relatively low.
Meanwhile, higher than expected rainfall in West Virginia in the US, lead to catastrophic flooding in several counties, affecting over 5,500 homes and 120+ businesses. The federal government declared a disaster after huge damage was suffered in Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Monroe, Nicholas, Roane, and Summers counties. Total economic losses could reach hundreds of millions of dollars, while insured losses are expected to be mitigated by the extensive property coverage provided by the US government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
On a more positive note, this year had the lowest number of recorded tornadoes in June since 1988.
Adam Podlaha, global head of Impact Forecasting, said: “With the continued expectation of a transition towards La Niña in the second half of 2016, the month of June provided a potential precursor to some of the global impacts typically experienced during such an ENSO phase.

"The enhanced seasonal monsoon rainfall across China and elsewhere in Asia was amplified as flooding caused considerable property and agricultural damage. With catastrophe models becoming more prevalent in Asia-Pacific, the insurance industry is better able to provide a clearer understanding of the financial risks that the flood peril increasingly poses.”
Other natural disasters in the past month worldwide were:
  • Major flooding in India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Ghana
  • Thunderstorms causing damage from the Rockies to the Mid-Atlantic, leading to insured losses over US$350m
  • Thunderstorms in the Netherlands caused total economic damages of over US$578m
  • An East Coast Low (cyclone) in eastern Australia, killed at least four people. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) declared an insurance catastrophe as at least 32,000 claims were filed with payouts over US$175m
  • Storms in the Canadian praries
  • Erskine fire in California, damaging 298 homes and dealing above US$100m in damage
  • Tropical Storm Colin made landfall in Florida, causing minimal damage
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AIR Worldwide expands disaster modelling coverage in SEA
Japan quake residential losses up by 13%, almost reaching US$3bn
Disaster numbers rise but payouts fall

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