Total combined economic losses of seasonal monsoon flooding in China are likely to exceed CNY220 billion ($32 billion)

Aon’s Impact Forecasting has published the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during September 2020.

It notes that seasonal monsoon flooding persisted in China, as officials noted that flooding in some parts of the country was the worst since 1998. According to China’s Ministry of Emergency Management, at least 278 people were killed, and more than 1.4 million houses were damaged or destroyed since the arrival of Mei-yu rains in China this year. Total combined economic losses are likely to exceed CNY220 billion ($32 billion).

Meanwhile, typhoon Maysak made landfall in South Korea on September 3, causing notable damage to nearly 2,000 facilities and 5,000 hectares (12,500 acres). The storm later affected the eastern parts of North Korea, China and Russia, causing at least 30 additional casualties and damage to 9,200 houses. A few days later, Typhoon Haishen came ashore near the coastal city of Ulsan, South Korea, with 160 kph (100 mph) winds. Around 10,000 combined houses were damaged or destroyed. Economic losses from each of the storms are anticipated to surpass $100 million.

The report also reveals that significant wildfires continued to burn across parts of the US throughout September, killing at least 43 people. In 2020 to date, the US has reported 22 fires with at least 100,000 acres burned; a record since the statistic was first tracked in 1997. Total direct economic costs from the fires across California, Oregon and Washington were likely to reach well into the billions of dollars, resulting in a multi-billion-dollar payout for insurers.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Sally came ashore near Gulf Shores, Alabama, on September 16 as a Category 2 storm. Total economic losses were estimated beyond $5 billion, while public and private insurance losses exceeded $2.5 billion.

Steve Bowen, director and meteorologist on the Impact Forecasting team at Aon, said: “The third quarter is historically the costliest of the year given the peak of tropical cyclone season in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean Basins. While September did result in notable storm landfalls in the United States, Belize, South Korea, and Portugal, the re-emergence of the wildfire peril captured a significant number of headlines. Historic fires from the perspective of structures lost and acres burned left a lasting impact in the Western United States.

”The wildfires, which were amplified by hot and dry weather in combination with abundant available fuel, ensured a record sixth consecutive multi-billion-dollar payout year for global insurers with this peril. This comes as the industry continues to put more focus on the increased annual costs arising from secondary perils.”