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Wildfires, extreme weather taking their toll on insurers

Wildfires, extreme weather taking their toll on insurers

California wildfires and Midwest hail continue to cause substantial insured losses in the United States as damage estimates for severe weather in Europe remain elusive, according to a report released Friday by Aon P.L.C.’s Impact Forecasting unit.

California’s Carr Fire and the Mendocino Complex Fire, consisting of the Ranch and River fires, burned nearly half a million acres during the past week alone, according to Impact, with estimates that insured losses are expected to top $1 billion. The fires have been raging since late July.

The Mendocino Complex Fire is now the largest fire in modern history in California, based on official Cal Fire data, which began in 1932, the report said. The fire, however, has taken place in a largely rural area, unlike the Carr Fire, Impact said, adding that the Mendocino Fire has still destroyed more than 200 structures, including more than 100 homes.

The Carr Fire, by comparison, has destroyed nearly 1,600 structures, including more than 1,000 homes, the report said.

Meanwhile, severe thunderstorms Aug. 6-8 caused substantial hail across parts of the U.S. Rockies and Plains, the report said, with insured losses expected to exceed $100 million, including damage to vehicles and agriculture.

Colorado reported softball-size hail on Aug. 6, as large hail was also seen in parts of Nebraska and Wyoming, the report said.

This is the second consecutive weekly Impact report citing damages from wildfires and hail in the U.S. 

In Europe, total damages from a series of storms across France, Benelux and Germany that happened Aug. 7-9 “is difficult to determine at this point, as severe weather potential remains in the area,” the report said. A heat wave across the continent has caused an elevated risk of wildfires and has led to severe thunderstorms.

“The European summer of 2018 will be marked by record-breaking temperatures in several regions, particularly Scandinavia, parts of Germany and Iberia. A series of heat waves culminated on Aug. 4,” the report said.


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    California wildfires and severe storms in the Midwest and West regions of the United States since late July could cause insured losses of more than $1 billion and $100 million respectively, according to a report Friday from Aon P.L.C.’s Impact Forecasting unit.