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Hurricanes, other catastrophes leave billions in insured losses: Analysis

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The just-ended Atlantic hurricane season is the third-most active on record even though no hurricanes made landfall in the United States, according to research by Aon Benfield.

In its monthly global catastrophe report released Monday, Aon Benfield's Impact Forecasting team said Hurricane Tomas caused 55 deaths in Hispaniola and Cuba in late October and early November. It also caused economic losses of about $588 million in St. Lucia, the Leeward Antilles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti.

The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, a risk pool backed by Caribbean governments, has paid out about $12.8 million after Hurricane Tomas, noted the report about the wrap-up of catastrophes in November.

Also last month, Cyclone Jal made landfall near Chennai, India, causing economic losses of about $224 million and leaving at least 54 people dead, Aon Benfield said.

Flash floods caused economic losses of at least $1.72 billion in India and Thailand, the report noted.

Winter storms in the United States resulted in damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Southeast, Great Lakes and Middle Atlantic states. Insured losses are expected to exceed $25 million, Aon Benfield said.

November also saw at least 40 deaths in parts of Europe because of heavy snow and subzero temperatures, according to the report, while heavy flooding in Belgium and France killed at least five people.

Flooding and landslides hit parts of South America, resulting in at least 31 deaths in Venezuela, according to the report.

In the report, Aon Benfield said 2010 was the second consecutive year that no hurricane had made landfall in the United States despite the season being the third-most active ever for named storms.

The report is available at www.aonbenfield.com.