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September a reminder to insurers of geologic, seismic risks: Aon

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A volcano in Spain and earthquakes in Australia and Greece in September are reminders to the insurance industry of geologic and seismic risks, Aon’s latest Global Catastrophe Recap report says.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma Island in the Canary Islands will likely result in hundreds of millions of euros in economic losses after lava flows destroyed nearly 1000 homes and large areas of infrastructure and roads. Thousands of residents were evacuated.

Aon also noted a magnitude-5.9 earthquake rattled Victoria on September 22, causing minor but widespread damage to homes and businesses, and another strong earthquake hit the Greek island of Crete on September 27 and rendered more than 3000 homes uninhabitable.

“Weather and climate perils often generate most headlines but geologic or seismic risks remain worthy of heightened focus,” senior catastrophe analyst Michal Lörinc said.

The ongoing eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano “reminds the insurance industry of the challenges posed by non-modelled perils,” he said.

In the US, Hurricane Nicholas caused flooding across parts of Texas and Louisiana and clocked up more than $US1 billion ($1.35 billion) in losses, though less than half was expected to be covered by insurance. It made landfall on September 14 as a Category 1 storm and days of heavy rainfall associated with the slow-moving cyclone prompted notable flooding.

Also in the US, the Fawn Fire was ignited on September 22 and burned thousands of hectares in Shasta County, California. At least 185 structures were destroyed. For the season, California wildfires have left more than 3600 structures damaged or destroyed with a multi-billion-dollar economic cost expected.

Severe weather left damage across areas of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Large hail and straight-line winds caused most of the damage. Total economic losses were estimated at $US315 million ($424.2 million) and most was insured.

In China, the seasonal death toll from flood-related incidents neared 400, with a combined economic cost approaching $US30 billion ($40.4 billion).