Trends in weather related catastrophe losses

When Hurricane Michael made landfall this month, forecasters remarked that it was the strongest storm on record to hit the Florida Panhandle and the fourth strongest to hit the continental US. Like Hurricane Florence that impacted the Carolinas in September, Michael caused both loss of life and vast amounts of property damage. Much has been written about the increasing frequency and severity of weather-related events, such as hurricanes, droughts and severe storms. According to Aon’s 2017 Annual Report on Catastrophes, 2017 was one of the costliest years ever recorded for weather disasters. Economic losses exceed $340 billion. Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria created extensive damage across the US and Caribbean Islands. Those three storms alone cost an estimated $220 billion in damage. In addition to the hurricanes, California faced significant wildfire outbreaks last year. Aon identifies 2017 as the costliest year on record for the wildfire peril. Total payouts from the California event alone were an estimated $11 billion.

The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) – formerly known as the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) – continues to monitor global climatic trends. 18 out of the 19 warmest years have been registered since 2001. In its review of 2017, NCEI scientists noted that 2017 tied 2011 for the highest number of billion-dollar disasters in the US for a single year, with 16 disasters identified. 2017 was also unique because the US experienced a high disaster frequency, disaster cost and diversity of weather and climate extreme events. The NCEI notes that the increase in population and material wealth over the last several decades are important factors for increased damage potential as well.

As significant catastrophe events appear to be on the rise, insurance industry researchers and catastrophe modelers continue to advance techniques for assessing and calculating risk. We’re all in this together, and we take great pride in the steps we take to help you prevent a claim. In the unfortunate case of a loss, our claims team is ready to jump into action knowing that each day costs your clients valuable time and money. Made up of nearly 30 members with an average of 20 years industry experience and 60 professional designations who are dedicated to property and inland marine claims, our team is dedicated to knowing exactly how to investigate, handle and settle these specialty claims.

In addition, our staff of loss control experts will work with you to help improve the safety and security of your clients’ operations for better risk management and potential cost savings. We will visit an insured’s location and help alleviate the risks that they might not even think about. For more information, contact your nearest Property & Inland Marine representative today.

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