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Impact Forecasting May 2019

U.S. impacted by most May tornadoes since 2015 as storms and floods leave costly financial toll, according to Aon catastrophe report

Insurers facing multi-billion-dollar payout from prolonged stretch of storms

CHICAGO, June 6, 2019 – Aon plc (NYSE:AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, 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 May 2019.

The report reveals that no fewer than seven outbreaks of severe convective storms swept across central and eastern sections of the United States. Preliminary local storm report (LSR) data from NOAA indicates that there were nearly 4,400 individual reports of tornadoes, hail, and straight-line winds – the most in May since 2011.

In addition to the thunderstorm impacts was continued flooding, as record-breaking rainfall in Oklahoma and Kansas resulted in historic flooding throughout the Arkansas River Basin, accompanied by remnant flooding in the Missouri and Mississippi River Basins. Total economic and insured losses from the convective storm and flood impacts were each anticipated to reach into the billions of dollars (USD).

Steve Bowen, Director and Meteorologist within Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, said: “Historically, May has been the most active month for tornadoes in the United States and 2019 was no exception, with the highest May tally since 2015. A persistent weather pattern led to several multi-day outbreaks of severe weather that resulted in tornadoes, large hail, damaging straight-line winds, and record-breaking rainfall which had a considerable impact on property and the agricultural sector. Severe convective storms have resulted in at least USD10 billion in U.S. insurance payouts annually since 2008, and we are likely headed towards a 12th consecutive year.”

Severe weather impacted the United States during the month, including periods of powerful thunderstorms and flooding rains impacted parts of the Rockies, Plains, and the Southeast from June 8-10. At least three people were killed and more than a dozen others injured. Total economic losses were estimated at up to USD575 million, while public/private insurers payouts were estimated to reach USD400 million.

Seasonal rainfall and flooding began across parts of central and southern China, with the hardest-hit provincial regions included Guizhou, Jiangxi, Guangxi, and Guangdong. During the month of June and into July, at least 200 people were declared dead or missing, with nearly 200,000 homes and other structures incurring flood inundation. Widespread damage to more than 430,000 hectares (1.06 million acres) of cropland also occurred. The seasonal flood toll in China was listed at CNY42.4 billion (USD6.1 billion).

Other natural catastrophe events to have occurred elsewhere during May include:

  • Ongoing drought conditions in China’s Yunnan Province affected more than 273,000 hectares (675,000 acres) of cropland at a financial cost of CNY953 million (USD138 million).
  • Prolonged rainfall impacted much of Paraguay, leading to widespread flooding that killed at least six people, led to the evacuation of over 40,000 residents, and caused significant harm to the cattle industry.
  • An outbreak of severe weather impacted portions of Southern Europe, with abundant rainfall causing an overflow of rivers in the Emilia-Romagna region and inundating around 600 homes and businesses, and adjacent agricultural land. The same weather system also affected the Balkans.
  • The Arabian Peninsula endured heavy rainfall, prompting flooding that was exacerbated by poor infrastructure. Six people were killed in Yemen alone, including in parts of Sanaa, while at least six people went missing after being swept away by flash flooding in the Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman. One person was swept away by floodwaters in Saudi Arabia. Total economic costs were forecast as millions (USD).
  • Heavy rains swept across several sections of Yemen from June 7-9. At least three people were killed, and more than 80,000 people were directly affected. Severe inundation was cited to thousands of homes and swaths of infrastructure. At least 10 governorates were affected, with Hajjah the hardest-hit.
  • Heavy rainfall resulted in localized flooding in Tanzania, with Dar es Salaam and the Mbeya region hardest hit. Five people died, thousands were displaced, and more than 1,000 homes were flooded.

To view the full Impact Forecasting May 2019 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please follow the link:


Along with the report, users can access current and historical natural catastrophe data and event analysis on Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight website, which is updated bi-monthly as new data become available:


Further information

For further information please contact the Reinsurance Solutions PR team: Andrew Wragg (+44 207 522 8183 / 07595 217168) David Bogg or Alexandra Lewis

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Notes to Editors

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

Aon announced in May 2018 it will retire the business unit brands of Aon Benfield and Aon Risk Solutions, which follows the retirement of the Aon Hewitt business unit brand in 2017. This move was designed to increase the rate of innovation across the firm and make it easier for colleagues to work together to bring the best of Aon to clients. Aon has five specific global solution lines: Commercial Risk Solutions, Reinsurance Solutions, Retirement Solutions, Health Solutions and Data & Analytic Services.

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