2.2 Record-Setting Damaging Weather Extremes in 2011

Monday, 7 January 2013: 2:00 PM
Room 15 (Austin Convention Center)
David Changnon, Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb, IL; and S. Changnon

The number of U.S. extreme weather catastrophes as measured by losses to insured property set records during 2011. The annual number of $100 million or greater weather catastrophes set a new benchmark at 28 events while the number of $1 billion or greater events totaled eight, also a new record. These events occurred in all seasons and involved all kinds of weather perils including hurricanes, winter storms, convective-related (i.e., hail, high winds, tornadoes, etc.), and drought-induced fire. These new insurance loss records should not be surprising as weather-related catastrophes have increased steadily since the earlier 1990s. Although there has been some recent increase in the number of extreme weather events as measured by atmospheric conditions, the primary reason for the increased insurance losses appears to be more related to the target (e.g., densely populated cities and coastal regions, increased costs related to property replacement, etc.) of these extreme events. Although the number of extremely damaging weather catastrophes experienced in 2011 severely impacted those in the insurance industry, new records are likely to be established in the not so distant future.
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