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Aon: Europe flooding, storms trigger billions of dollars of losses in November

The flooding and inland storms experienced in western and southern Europe in November resulted in multi-billion-dollar economic losses, according to Aon PLC's latest Global Catastrophe Recap.

Among the European countries, Italy bore the majority of losses due to the active stretch of cyclonic weather that led to significant flooding and severe weather. Venice recorded its second-highest tide since 1923 as a pattern of flooding and severe weather from Nov. 11 to 19 caused additional widespread damage across Italy and parts of Austria. Total aggregated economic losses, including the effects of tidal flooding in Venice, amounted to approximately US$1.9 billion.

Flooding events in France, Italy and England are expected to result in combined economic losses of more than US$1 billion. On Nov. 26, Albania experienced one of the strongest earthquakes on record, leading to severe damage and 51 fatalities.

Roughly three early-season winter storms brushed through nearly all of the U.S. in November, with heavy snowfall, unusually cold temperatures, freezing rain, excessive rainfall and gusty synoptic winds producing notable damage. Total aggregated insured losses are pegged at US$100 million. The strong storm system that hit parts of Canada from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 is anticipated to result in total economic losses of US$275 million.

Heavy rains in Colombia from October to December have already taken the lives of 20 people and, as of Nov. 17, destroyed 43 homes and damaged 4,607 houses.

In Asia, Australia declared two catastrophes due to bushfires and hail, bringing about US$112 million of insured losses. Total economic losses from Cyclone Matmo, which pounded India and Bangladesh, is projected to hit US$3.4 billion or higher.

Drought conditions worsened throughout South Africa, leading to about US$135 million of total direct economic costs. Over 150,000 farms across the country were directly affected by the situation.

In the Middle East, the magnitude 5.9 earthquake that struck the East Azerbaijan Province of Northwestern Iran on Nov. 8 is expected to lead to more than US$90 million of economic losses.