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March Windstorms Cause Billion-Dollar Damage Across Europe

Windstorm Niklas recorded as costliest non-U.S. event in first quarter 2015

Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team, have launched 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. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE:AON).

The report reveals that 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.

Adam Podlaha, Head of Impact Forecasting, said: "The costly losses endured from windstorms Niklas and Mike further highlight the importance of using catastrophe models to forecast the peril in Europe. Impact Forecasting successfully released an event footprint within 48 hours of Niklas' passage – expected to be the costliest non-U.S. event of Q1 2015 – which allowed our clients to quickly determine loss estimates while running the analysis using our ELEMENTS platform. As we move towards the historically costliest quarters of the year for the insurance industry in Q2 and Q3, clients will have the chance to learn more about Impact Forecasting's modeling and software capabilities at one of our five upcoming global conferences."

Elsewhere during the month, 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.

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