Thanks to three intense series of tornado-producing storms in the United States, insurers could be on the hook for more than $4 billion in losses for the month of May, according to Impact Forecasting, the catastrophe model development center of excellence at Aon Benfield, which released its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report.
The report presents figures for regions of the United States heavily effected by several severe windstorm events last month, including Moore, Okla., where a catastrophic EF-5 tornado killed 24 people, injured 387 others, and damaged or destroyed as many as 13,000 homes and structures.
Total economic losses from the event, which comprised at least 61 confirmed tornado touchdowns, were preliminarily estimated at $5.0 billion, amid insured losses of at least $2.5 billion.
In a second prolonged severe weather event at least 76 tornadoes touched down, including an EF-5 tornado with 295 mph (475 kph) winds and a U.S.-record 2.6-mile path width that struck El Reno, Okla. Large hail, including a major hailstorm in Amarillo, Texas that resulted in a $400 million insured loss, flash flooding in the Plains and Midwest, and damaging winds in the Northeast, also were recorded.
Total economic losses are expected to exceed $2.0 billion, with insured losses above $1.0 billion.
Two additional stretches of severe weather also affected parts of the Plains and the Southeast, causing a combined economic loss of $700 million and insured losses of $375 million.
"The month of May is historically the peak of tornado season in the U.S., and after a relatively benign start to the month, tornado activity became much more prevalent during the last two weeks,” said Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting. “High insurance penetration will help to alleviate the pressure on those affected, and the recovery is already well underway."
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