05 June 2015
Reporter: Stephen Durham

May floods in US to cost insurers $1 billion

Total aggregated severe thunderstorm and flood economic losses for May 2015 are expected to near $3 billion, with overall insured losses set to easily exceed $1 billion, according to Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team.

These losses are compounded by the fact that there is low flood insurance penetration in parts of Oklahoma and Texas, which suffered powerful thunderstorms in May causing major floods, killing 41 people and damaging more than 5,000 homes in Texas alone, resulting in what proved to be the wettest May on record for both states.

Severe weather prompted 412 preliminary reports of tornadoes by the US Storm Prediction Center— which would equal the highest monthly number of US tornadoes since the 758 seen in April 2011.

Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting associate director and meteorologist, said: "The rains, which were 500 percent greater than normal values for the month of May in some locations, led to major riverine and flash flooding in areas that had long been mired in a multi-year drought.”

“In the immediate aftermath of the event, Impact Forecasting was able to successfully implement flood extents and scenarios into our US flood model for deployment to clients."

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