Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe model development center of excellence at Aon Benfield, has released its latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which reviews the natural disaster perils that occurred worldwide during February 2014. The month’s wild weather led to insurance payouts of more than $1 billion globally.

The nastiest weather wasn’t in the U.S. or the UK, but in Japan, which experienced record snowfall during the month, causing the deaths of 37 people and injuring more than 2,750 others, mostly as a result of traffic-related accidents.  “Insurers forecast total claims payouts of around JPY60 billion ($585 million), while economic losses were estimated to approach JPY120 billion ($1.2 billion),” the report said.

In the United States a strong winter storm crossed the country mid-month, killing at least 25 people and damaging more than 50,000 structures. Total economic losses were estimated at $500 million, while insurers cited losses in excess of $250 million.

Earlier in February, a separate winter storm killed at least nine people across the eastern U.S., generating total economic losses of around $250 million and insurance losses above $150 million.

The report also notes that “severe winter weather in China killed at least 10 people and damaged or destroyed nearly 35,000 structures, according to data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA). Total economic losses were estimated at CNY5.7 billion ($930 million).”

Adam Podlaha, Head of Impact Forecasting, said: “February was characterized by a wide spectrum of events, ranging from well-modelled windstorms affecting vast areas of Europe at the end of its winter season, to largely non-modelled floods affecting parts of South America and Asia.

“From time to time, a non-modelled peril such as the recent volcanic activity in Indonesia reminds us of the array of risks present around the globe. Increasing exposure in fast growing countries marks the need for future model development and is the major force behind the continually expanding suite of Impact Forecasting models for new territories. In addition, the need to understand relatively well-modelled perils remains high on our list of priorities.”

In western and central Europe, the report said: “Windstorms Nadja, Petra, Tini, and Ulla all brought high winds and heavy rains during February. The most significant event was Windstorm Tini, which caused extensive damage across Ireland and the United Kingdom. The storm prompted winds in excess of 160 kph (100 mph) as well as flooding across England, Wales and Ireland.

“Total insured losses were estimated at €500 million ($685 million), with overall economic damages forecast at €730 million ($1.0 billion). Windstorms also impacted areas of France, Spain, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, and Scandinavia during the month.”

Mount Kelud erupted on the Indonesian Island of Java, killing at least seven people and resulting in the evacuation of 200,000 local residents. Economic damages were estimated at IDR1.2 trillion ($103 million).

After the blizzards the eastern part of the U.S. was hit by a “spring-like storm system that caused a severe weather outbreak, killing at least one person and injuring several others. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) cited nearly 500 reports of tornado touchdowns, damaging winds, and hail, with total economic losses estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In South America flooding continued to inundate much of Bolivia during February, killing 46 people over a two-month period. Total economic damages across multiple regions were listed in excess of BOB690 million ($100 million).

Additional flood events were recorded in areas of Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Philippines, and Fiji.

The full Impact Forecasting February 2014 Global Catastrophe Recap report is available at:

Source: Aon Benfield/Impact Forecasting