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Global economy faced $123bn natural hazard impact in warmest year on record, according to Aon annual catastrophe report

01/13/2016

Insurance payout for 2015 natural disasters was 31 percent below average

CHICAGO, Jan. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team, today launches its Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that took place worldwide during 2015. Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE:AON).

The report reveals that 300 separate global natural disasters occurred in 2015, compared to the 15-year average of 269 events, causing a combined total insured loss of USD35 billion – 31 percent below the 15-year average of USD51 billion, and the lowest annual insured loss total since 2009. The costliest event for insurers was a February winter storm that impacted much of the Eastern United States and resulted in public and private insurance payouts of more than USD2.1 billion.

Global economic losses from natural catastrophes in 2015 stood at USD123 billion – 30 percent below the 15-year average of USD175 billion. There were 14 multi-billion dollar economic loss events around the world, with the costliest being forest fires that burned out of control in Indonesia. At USD16.1 billion, The World Bank noted that the economic loss from the fires represented 1.9 percent of the country's GDP.

Meanwhile, 2015 replaced 2014 as the warmest year since the recording of global land and ocean temperature began in 1880.

Stephen Mildenhall, Chairman of Aon Analytics, said: "Global insured property catastrophes in 2015 accounted for just 28 percent of economic losses, in-line with the 10-year average of 29 percent. In many regions, economic catastrophe losses are very material relative to national GDP and yet are insured at much lower levels than in the United States and Europe. Of our top five economic losses, four occurred outside the United States and yet none of these was a top 10 insured loss owing to low insurance penetration in the affected countries. With its abundant capital and sophisticated risk management tools, the industry should drive its own growth by better delivering on its core mission of providing critical risk transfer products to enable stable economic development in all regions of the world."

The study reveals that the three costliest perils – flood, severe thunderstorm, and wildfire – accounted for 59 percent of all economic losses during the 12 months under review. The deadliest event of 2015 was the magnitude-7.8 earthquake and subsequent aftershock that struck Nepal in April and May, killing more than 9,100 people and costing the nation and surrounding countries an estimated USD8.0 billion in damage and reconstruction.

Steve Bowen, Associate Director and Meteorologist at Impact Forecasting, said: "While a notable uptick in recorded natural disaster events did not directly translate to greater financial losses in 2015, the year was marked by 31 individual billion-dollar disasters, or 20 percent more than the long-term average. For just the fourth time since 1980, there were more than 30 such events in a year. Asia once again incurred the greatest overall economic losses, representing 50 percent of the world total and four of the five costliest events. Despite 32 percent of global economic losses occurring in the United States, it accounted for 60 percent of the insured loss and seven of the top 10 costliest insured events. The strongest El Niño in decades had definitive impacts on global weather patterns during the second half of 2015 that led to costly flood, tropical cyclone and drought events. These impacts will linger into the first half of 2016, and ironically enough, we could be discussing impacts from La Niña at this time next year."

By the end of 2015, the United States had extended its record to 10 consecutive years without a major hurricane landfall. While 32 percent of catastrophe losses occurred inside of the United States, the country accounted for 60 percent of global insured losses, highlighting the high level of insurance penetration.

The top 10 insured loss events in 2015 comprised of five United States severe thunderstorm outbreaks, one United States winter storm, one European windstorm, one Indonesian forest fire, and one United States drought. No region of the world sustained aggregate insured losses above its 15-year average in 2015; though EMEA, Asia Pacific and the Americas (non-US) were all above their respective medians.

To view the full Impact Forecasting 2015 Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report, please follow the link:

http://aon.io/1PVb9LI

To view a film of Steve Bowen announcing the key findings of the report, please click on the link below:

http://aon.io/1OpeZtS  

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:

www.aonbenfield.com/catastropheinsight  

Further information

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

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Aon plc (http://www.aon.com) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance brokerage and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 69,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative risk and people solutions. For further information on our capabilities and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit: http://aon.mediaroom.com.

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To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-economy-faced-123bn-natural-hazard-impact-in-warmest-year-on-record-according-to-aon-annual-catastrophe-report-300203771.html

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