Australian flood tops 2022 insurance losses outside the US

Seven events that generated insurance losses exceeding US$1 billion

Australian flood tops 2022 insurance losses outside the US

Catastrophe & Flood

By Roxanne Libatique

The Eastern Australian flood that occurred in late February and early March 2022 is the largest event loss outside the US, according to the latest CRESTA Industry Loss Index (CLIX).

CRESTA provides industry loss data on international catastrophic events – excluding the US – that have generated insurance industry losses above US$1 billion. In 2022, seven events generated insurance losses that exceeded the loss threshold:

  • European Windstorm Series (Dudley, Eunice, Franklin), February 2022;
  • Eastern Australia Floods, February to March 2022;
  • Fukushima Mw 7.3 Earthquake, March 2022;
  • KwaZulu-Natal Floods, South Africa, April 2022;
  • Western Europe Severe Storms, early June 2022;
  • Western Europe Severe Storms, mid-June 2022; and
  • Typhoon (Nanmadol, Japan), September 2022.

The Eastern Australian floods in 2022 generated an industry loss of US$4.7 billion. It was followed by the European Windstorm Series in February (created an industry loss of US$4.2 billion) and the Fukushima Earthquake in March (created an industry loss of US$3.9 billion).

The other major international catastrophe events last year were devastating floods in South Africa in April and extreme hail events in June that mainly affected France. By contrast, Japan had a relatively benign typhoon season, with only Typhoon Nanmadol exceeding US$1 billion.

“The CRESTA CLIX industry loss database goes back to 2000 and therefore allows users to analyse trends in the frequency and severity of major natural catastrophe events. This is critical information for underwriters who are addressing a dynamic risk landscape driven by climate change and the growth in insured values,” said Matthias Saenger, technical manager of CLIX.

“Only by properly understanding these trends can natural catastrophe insurance and reinsurance be offered on a sustainable basis, helping alleviate the capacity constraints currently observed in the market.”

The Eastern Australian event in late February and early March 2022 is Australia's costliest flood. In an initial estimate of the insurance market loss related to the event, PERILS – an independent organisation providing industry-wide catastrophe insurance data – expected AU$3,991 million in losses, covering property and motor hull lines of business.

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