Indian economy suffers $3bn loss from persistent floods amid low insurance penetration, according to Aon catastrophe report

insurance penetration

Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, today launches the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during November 2015.

Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE:AON).

The report reveals that an enhanced North East Monsoon – almost certainly impacted by current El Niño conditions – brought weeks of torrential rainfall to southern India and Sri Lanka for much of November and early December, killing at least an estimated 386 people in the heavily impacted states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The Chennai metropolitan region in India was particularly damaged by the event.

Total economic losses in India were estimated to reach INR200 billion (USD3.0 billion), as India’s General Insurance Corporation reported insurance claims of around INR20 billion (USD300 million).

Adityam Krovvidi, Head of Impact Forecasting Asia Pacific, said: “New economic developments in Asia are taking place in flood plains and marsh lands with scant attention to drainage, thus increasing run-off and flooding.

The 100-year rainfall event in Chennai exposed the inherent weakness of the one-dimensional nature of this economic pursuit, and highlights the need for serious introspection, implementation of mitigation measures and the redesign of urban landscapes.

Risk assessment can play a major role in awareness and insurance in mitigating the financial hardships.

The large gap between the economic and insured loss from the Chennai flood event further emphasises the need for greater insurance penetration in large industrialized cities in Asia.

This will become even more important as Asian megacities continue to grow and the risk of major urban flood events increases.”

Elsewhere during November, a series of early season winter storms brought periods of frigid temperatures, freezing rain, ice, heavy rainfall, and the season’s first major snowfall to many areas of the U.S., killing at least 18 people.

The events led to major disruption to travel and caused widespread reports of damage from the Rockies to the Midwest. Total combined economic losses from the events were expected to exceed USD200 million.

Windstorms Heini and Nils (also known locally as “Barney” and “Clodagh”) impacted parts of the United Kingdom and Western Europein the latter part of the month.

Total insured losses, primarily driven by Heini (Barney), were expected to exceed USD100 million.

Other natural hazard events to have occurred globally in November include:

  • One of the worst droughts in decades intensified in South Africa as water shortages affected 2.7 million households. Total economic losses were estimated to exceed USD2.0 billion.
  • Nearly 100 tornadoes touched down in the U.S. in November across the Plains and Midwest.
  • Winter storms swept through northern China that led to minimal economic losses of USD268 million.
  • Noteworthy floods impacted portions of Southern Europe, China, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Severe thunderstorms caused tens of millions of dollars’ (USD) of damage in South Africa and Australia.
  • A pair of rare cyclones made historic landfalls in Yemen, killing at least 26 people.
  • Multiple wildfires burned just to the north of South Australia’s Adelaide, killing two people. The Insurance Council of Australia preliminarily cited 1,344 insurance claims worth AUD119.7 million (USD88 million).
  • A magnitude-5.5 earthquake struck southern Kyrgyzstan damaging almost 4,500 buildings in Osh Region.

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