Medicane Ianos brought rough seas, damaging winds, and flooding rainfall to western and southern regions of Greece

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.

In Europe, Medicane Ianos brought rough seas, damaging winds, and flooding rainfall to western and southern regions of Greece between September 17-20. The most significant impacts occurred in portions of the Ionian Islands and Thessaly. Total economic and insured losses were expected to reach $100m.

Meanwhile, subtropical Storm Alpha made landfall along the coast of Portugal near Figueira Da Foz (north of Lisbon) on September 18 with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph). Alpha brought heavy rainfall, flooding, and isolated tornadoes to portions of central Portugal and Spain. Total economic and insured losses were anticipated to be in the millions of euros.

Flash flooding impacted parts of the Gard department in southern France on September 19 when up to 750 millimeters (29.5 inches) of rain fell within a 12-hour period in a phenomenon known as a ‘Mediterranean episode’. Among the worst affected was the municipality of Valleraugue. At least 1,000 homes were damaged and further losses were noted on infrastructure.

A severe weather outbreak with widespread effects felt across Italy occurred on September 25-27; it produced large hail, waterspouts and tornadoes, and strong winds. The most affected regions were Veneto, Lombardia, Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Toscana, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Sardegna. Large hail affected agricultural land in Veneto, particularly in the areas north of Vicenza and north of Treviso. Total losses in the sector were tentatively estimated in the tens of millions euros.

Wildfires rage in California

In the US throughout September significant wildfires continued to burn. 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.”