Economic loss up $1bn from last year’s floods

Major floods during the 2011 monsoon season in Thailand

Seasonal monsoon rains and flooding across Asia in September will lead to an $8bn economic loss, according to an Aon Benfield catastrophe report.

This figure is higher than the $7bn estimated economic loss from last September’s Asian floods.

Of the more than $7.5bn in economic losses recorded in Asia, China sustained much of that loss as two separate flood events affected several provinces. The most costly occurred during a six-day stretch, in which the Ministry of Civil Affairs confirmed economic losses of at least CNY31.1bn ($4.92bn) across six provinces.

In Pakistan, at least 442 people have been killed and 2,912 others injured following persistent heavy rains and flooding that began in mid-August. The National Disaster Management Authority reported that more than 407,138 homes and at least 444,580 hectares (1.1m acres) of crops have been damaged or destroyed. Damage to agriculture and infrastructure alone was listed at PKR250bn ($2.64bn).

Seasonal monsoon flooding was also recorded in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia during the month. In India, at least 56 people died after floods inundated roughly 400,000 homes.

Typhoon Sanba caused economic losses of JPY950m ($12.2m) in Japan and KRW389bn ($389m) in South Korea, while Typhoon Jelawat killed two people in Japan, where the system made landfall and damaged at least 3,800 homes and structures.

In China, two magnitude-5.6 tremors struck Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, killing at least 81 people and affecting more than 452,000 homes. Economic losses were listed at CNY7.31bn ($1.15bn).

Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, who co-published the report, said: “Over the past few years and again in 2012, we have seen flooding emerge as one of the costliest perils across the globe from an economic perspective. It is a hazard that our catastrophe modelling teams are increasingly addressing, and one that we will continue to focus heavily on going forward.  As insurance and reinsurance penetration continues to increase across Asia, we expect that flood exposures will become a key challenge for the industry, and so we are obtaining the very best data and developing appropriate modeling technology to ensure that the insurers can assuredly offer a range of products to mitigate flood risk across multiple regions.”


Flooding also occurred in parts of Europe during September, where a slow-moving storm system brought torrential rainfall across northern sections of the UK, killing at least three people amid damages estimated to have exceeded £50m ($81m) in the northeast UK.

In southern Spain, at least 10 people were killed after floods affected six separate provinces. The Insurance Compensation Commission reported that 19,500 claims were filed worth €120m ($155m).


Elsewhere, rounds of severe weather swept across central and eastern sections of the USA, with two tornadoes recorded in the New York City metropolitan area. One 48-hour stretch of inclement weather caused estimated economic losses of $225m, with various insurers receiving at least 35,000 claims with payouts exceeding $125m.

Severe weather also occurred in several South American countries during September, as a powerful storm system killed at least nine people and injured more than 100 others. Paraguay was the hardest-hit country, where more than 5,000 homes were destroyed. Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina also reported impacts.

Meanwhile, a magnitude-7.6 earthquake struck Costa Rica, killing at least three people and injuring 30 others, amid total economic losses of approximately CRC22.5bn ($45m).