April storms hit insurers with billions in claims

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Public and private insurers are expected to pay at least $1.5 billion in claims resulting from severe weather in the U.S. during April, according to a report Wednesday from catastrophe modeler Impact Forecasting, part of Aon Benfield Group Ltd.

A further $180 million in claims is expected due to winter weather in Ontario and Quebec, the report said.

Meanwhile, damaging hail in Europe last month led to insurance payouts over €1 billion ($1.20 billion), according to Michal Lorinc, an analyst within Impact Forecasting’s catastrophe insight team.

Five storm systems during April caused severe thunderstorms across the United States as the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast were all hit, the report said. Almost 70 tornado touchdowns and hail that reached the size of baseballs damaged residential and commercial property and vehicles, the report said, with total economic losses pegged at $2.3 billion, the report said, well in excess of expected claims.

The storms also caused “anomalous” snowfall in the upper Midwest and New England, while dry conditions behind the storm caused major wildfires in the Plains, notably in Oklahoma, Impact Forecasting said.

“As the peak of the severe weather season approaches in the United States, it is worth highlighting the impact of the thunderstorm peril in Europe,” Mr. Lorinc said in the statement. “As in the U.S., hail has been particularly damaging to European residential and commercial property, as well as vehicles, with several historical events prompting insurance payouts in excess of a billion euros.”

The catastrophe modeler said it plans to soon release a hail model for several European countries to help clients better prepare for such damaging events.

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