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Aon: Severe US weather, Arctic outbreak cause billions of dollars of losses


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Aon: Severe US weather, Arctic outbreak cause billions of dollars of losses

Total total economic losses from an Arctic outbreak that struck parts of the central U.S. were anticipated to reach into tens of millions, according to Aon PLC's Global Catastrophe Recap for February.

An unprecedented stretch of winter weather conditions that affected nearly all of the U.S. from Feb. 12 to 20 is expected to result in total direct economic damage cost, and net-loss business interruption, of over $10 billion, making it the costliest winter event in U.S. history.

A polar vortex event generated record-breaking cold temperatures and widespread disruptions, while a series of low-pressure systems produced rounds of hazardous snowfall, sleet, freezing rain, ice, and severe thunderstorms, with impacts spanning from Washington state to Mid-Atlantic. The storms caused widespread power outages, traffic pileups, and extensive property damage.

Parts of northern Texas were hit by thunderstorms and large hail that is expected to result in total economic losses of over $100 million, most of which are insured.

Total economic losses from flooding across parts of the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys resulting from multiple rounds of heavy rainfall and severe weather approached about $100 million, with major portion of the residential flood damage expected to be uninsured due to low National Flood Insurance Program take-up.

On Feb. 13, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan's Fukushima Prefecture that destroyed and damaged about 4,700 residential structures, with total economic losses anticipated to reach into the hundreds of millions. The incident had already generated nearly 88,000 insurance claims, according to the General Insurance Association of Japan.

In China, drought conditions prompted by below-average precipitation, mainly in the provinces of Guangxi, Hunan and Yunnan, caused about $58 million of direct economic losses in February alone. Meanwhile, winter weather that affected central sections of China caused estimated economic losses of about $50 million, mostly due to agricultural impacts.

A rupture on Nanda Ghunti in India caused a major flash flood in the Uttarakhand state that damaged thousands of structures and four hydroelectric power plants, resulted economic losses of about $206 million.

In Australia, wind- and flood-related impacts across the coastal areas of Queensland and New South Wales that resulted from Tropical Cyclone Niran damaged residential buildings as well as other private and public infrastructure. Economic losses due to crop damage alone were estimated at about $155 million.