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Survey Report

Summary of Natural Catastrophe Events 2019

Willis Re eVENT™ Update

Casualty|Risk Control and Claims Advocacy|Insurance Consulting and Technology|Property|Reinsurance
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January 23, 2020

This report summarizes economic and insured losses from the most relevant natural catastrophe events that occurred during 2019.

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About this report

This report summarizes economic and insured losses from the most relevant natural catastrophe events that occurred during 2019. The loss values presented herein include those reported by Willis Re, catastrophe model vendors, reinsurance companies and third-party organizations. Loss estimates are presented in USD, for which rates of exchange at December 1, 2019, have been used.

Our insured loss estimates from major natural catastrophes in 2019 of about USD 53 billion are in the same order of magnitude as those observed in 2012 and keeps to the trend of reduction in natural catastrophe losses seen since 2017, when the annual market losses reached USD 143 billion. The insured losses in 2019 are about 15% lower than the average annual losses since 2011, which stand at USD 65.2 billion (see table below). Similarly to what was observed in 2018, for 2019 the losses are coming from minor and midsized loss events rather than from one or a couple of natural disasters that concentrated a large percentage of the insured losses during that given year (e.g., HIM hurricanes in the North Atlantic in 2017 or the Tohoku Earthquake in Japan in 2011).

During 2019 in the U.S., the largest single insured loss came by end of May when a severe thunderstorm affecting the High and Central Plains and eastern parts of the country produced circa USD 3 to 4 billion of insured losses. In addition, the severe thunderstorm between March 23 to 25 that affected the Central and Low Plains produced more than USD 1 billion loss. In Japan, Tropical Cyclones Faxai in September and Hagibis in October had insured losses of circa USD 7 billion and USD 8 billion, respectively, while Australia has been affected by bushfires that so far have produced more than USD 900 million. Europe saw lower insured losses from natural disasters during 2019 than in recent previous years: Winter Storm Dragi-Eberhard in March produced circa USD 850 million losses mainly from Belgium, France, the UK, Germany, Netherlands and Luxembourg. This level of losses in Europe is similar to the USD 830 million caused by the hailstorms in June affecting Germany, Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. In the Middle East and Africa region, Tropical Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique in March with circa USD 150 million insured losses and caused more than 1,000 fatalities. Finally, in Latin America and the Caribbean, the highlight of 2019 is the impact of Hurricane Dorian with insured losses in the Caribbean that could range between USD .75 billion and 2.5 billion.

The aforementioned events, along with others having lower insured losses, are described in detail in the second part of this report, listed in chronological order. Additionally, a summary of events is provided in the tables at the end of this document, organized by peril/region affected and in chronological order.

The aforementioned events, along with others having lower insured losses, are listed in chronological order. A summary of events is provided in the tables, organized by peril/region affected.
Insured losses from natural catastrophes since 2011 (Willis Re estimates)

A couple of visualizations showing both the regional and per peril distribution of loss estimates is presented in the figures below.

For regionalization purposes we have divided the globe into Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (MEA), North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). For 2019, North America had the largest insured losses with around 46% of the total, closely followed by APAC with 37%. In a distant third position, we see LAC with about 10% of the total insured losses (driven by Hurricane Dorian and a significant number of flood events), followed by Europe with circa 6% and the MEA region with under 1%.

By peril, severe weather (hail, tornado, straight wind) had 40% of the total losses followed by tropical cyclones (hurricanes) in the Northwestern Pacific with 32%, and tropical cyclones in the Atlantic with 12%.

Pie chart: Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (MEA), North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are divided in the chart below. For 2019, North America had the largest insured losses with around 46% of the total, closely followed by APAC with 37%. In third position, LAC with about 10% of the total insured losses (driven by Hurricane Dorian and a significant number of flood events), followed by Europe with circa 6% and the MEA region with under 1%.
Percent of Total Insured Loss by region
Pie chart: By peril, severe weather (hail, tornado, straight wind) had 40% of the total losses followed by tropical cyclones (hurricanes) in the Northwestern Pacific with 32%, and tropical cyclones in the Atlantic with 12%.
Percent of Total Insured Loss by peril

 


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Willis Re Summary of Natural Catastrophe Events 2019 PDF 4.5 MB
Contacts

John Alarcon
Executive Director Catastrophe Analytics, Willis Re International

Prasad Gunturi
Executive Vice President Catastrophe Analytics, Willis Re North America

Karl Jones
Managing Director Catastrophe Analytics, Willis Re International

Vaughn Jensen
Executive Vice President Catastrophe Analytics, Willis Re North America

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