Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team, has published the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during March 2015.
The report shows that windstorms and cyclones were the theme of the month.
Windstorms Mike and Niklas swept through western and central Europe at the end of March, killing at least nine people and causing widespread damage. Hurricane-force winds were noted in parts of Germany, the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and Poland, with Germany sustaining the most significant damage. Based on preliminary damage reports from each country and local insurers, it is expected that total economic and insured losses are each likely to exceed USD1.0 billion.
Elsewhere, Cyclone Pam struck the South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu, killing at least 11 people and injuring several others. On multiple islands, including an island including the capital city of Port Vila, 90 percent of homes and structures were damaged or destroyed as Vanuatu received a preliminary insurance payout of USD1.9 million from the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot program. Pam was recorded as the strongest cyclone to make landfall globally since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2013.
Meanwhile, Cyclones Nathan and Olwyn made multiple landfalls in Australia, causing damage to the agricultural sector, while Super Typhoon Maysak tracked across Micronesia and killed at least nine people.
After one of the quietest starts to the United States severe weather season in recent history, convective activity had increased by the end of March as two separate multi-day events caused widespread hail, straight-line wind, and tornado damage across parts of the Plains, Midwest and Southeast. Combined total economic and insured losses were anticipated to reach into the hundreds of millions (USD).
Severe winter weather again impacted the United States across regions of the Southwest, Rockies, Plains, South, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, killing 13 people and causing widespread damage. Total economic losses were estimated at USD175 million, while insurers reported losses in excess of USD110 million.
In China, hail damage, predominantly to agricultural lands and construction facilities in northwestern and southern sections of the country, resulted in forecast economic losses of CNY1.7 billion (USD275 million).
A historic flash flood event swept across northern Chile's Atacama and Antofagasta regions, killing at least 25 people and damaging or destroying as many as 14,000 homes.
Multiple moderate earthquakes struck China during the month, killing two people and damaging a combined 33,000 homes. Total economic losses were listed at roughly USD40 million.
To view the full Impact Forecasting March 2015 Global Catastrophe Recap report, click here.