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Wildfires in US and Portugal set damage records

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Californian wildfires that killed 43 people, injured 185 and destroyed about 8560 structures last month were the costliest insured wildfires on record, according to Impact Forecasting.

The California Department of Insurance says at least 19,000 residential, commercial and motor claims have already been filed, with payouts exceeding $US3.32 billion ($4.33 billion).

This may rise to $US8 billion ($10.43 billion) as more claims are processed.

Central and northern Portugal also suffered devastating wildfires, with 45 deaths and insurance losses likely to reach €200 million ($303.21 million) – a record for the country – according to the Aon Benfield subsidiary’s monthly catastrophe recap.

Windstorm Xavier hit northern Germany and western Poland, causing moderate damage and at least seven deaths, while extra-tropical remnants of Ophelia, the Atlantic’s easternmost major hurricane on record, hit the British isles. Windstorm Herwart swept through central Europe, causing at least 10 deaths and an insurance bill in the hundreds of millions of US dollars.

Super Typhoon Lan left extensive damage in the Philippines and caused economic losses above $US1 billion ($1.3 billion) in Japan. Hurricane Nate caused at least 46 deaths and extensive material losses in Central America, inflicting minor damage in US Gulf and Mid-Atlantic states.

Rainfall caused floods in China, Thailand and Vietnam, killing at least 98 people and damaging 121,000 Thai homes. Flooding in southern Norway prompted more than 2000 claims, with economic losses believed to exceed $US100 million ($130.44 million).

Flooding in Queensland followed powerful thunderstorms last month.

Severe weather in US central and eastern regions caused more than $US350 million ($456.56 million) in economic losses, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Philippe brought widespread damage to the US and Canada.