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Europe July flood losses reach $15 billion

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Western European floods in July have generated losses of $US11 billion ($15 billion), ranking the event as the largest this year for regions outside the US, natural catastrophe data monitor Cresta says.

Severe convective storms in Europe in June also caused losses of $US5.1 billion ($7 billion) and a Fukushima earthquake in Japan in February led to losses of $US2.5 billion ($3.4 billion).

In China, extreme rainfall in Henan province caused flood-related losses of $US1.9 billion ($2.6 billion), representing the largest catastrophe event loss ever for the Chinese insurance market, according to Cresta’s Clix loss list.

Cresta says three of the major catastrophe events were linked to bursts of extreme precipitation during summer months causing devastating flooding and hail.

This is in line with climate-related model forecasts, which indicate an increase in severity and frequency of extreme precipitation events resulting from higher temperatures and increased water-holding capacity in the atmosphere, it says.

Cresta was established by the insurance and reinsurance industry in 1977 as an independent body to provide consistent data to assist with risk assessment. It is managed by a subsidiary of Zurich’s Perils business. The Clix index includes major industry losses since 2000.

“As our index expands, we would expect that the predicted trends in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events which have been indicated by climate-focused model projections will become increasingly evident in this time series,” Clix Technical Manager Matthias Saenger said.