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Aon: Global drought losses to surpass $8bn as El Nino intensifies

CHICAGO, Sept. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, today launches the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during August 2015.Aon Benfield is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE:AON).

Aon plc ( is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance brokerage and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 69,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative risk and people solutions. For further information on our capabilities and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit:

The report reveals that in the United States, severe drought conditions persisted in western regions with total economic losses expected to reach at least USD3.0 billion – mostly attributable to agricultural damage inCalifornia. Several Caribbean and Central American nations issued alerts as droughts worsened.

Drought conditions also affected Eastern Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America during August, with combined economic losses of more than USD2.6 billionoccurring in Romania, Czech Republic, andPoland.

As El Niño continues to intensify in the coming months, it is expected that global drought losses will surpass the current forecast of USD8.0 billion in economic damage.

Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting associate director and meteorologist, said: “As we continue to see the prospect of El Niño becoming one of the strongest in decades, more and more impacts will be apparent around the world. This is already true in the form of global drought losses, as several countries have endured a severe lack of rainfall and agricultural impacts. On the flip side, tropical cyclone activity in the Pacific Ocean maintained its torrid pace in August due to above-average sea surface temperatures and favorable atmospheric conditions. Multiple landfalling storms in Asia-Pacificleft considerable damage, and more activity is expected as we enter the peak of the cyclone season.”

Elsewhere during August, Super Typhoon Soudelor tracked through Saipan, Taiwan, and Chinacausing economic losses in excess of USD3.2 billion. Soudelor was followed by Typhoon Goni which wrought havoc in Philippines, the Korean peninsula, and Japan, killing at least 70 people, damaging tens of thousands of homes and causing economic losses well into the hundreds of millions (USD).

Further natural hazard events that occurred during August:

  • Tropical Storm Erika impacted Dominica, Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, killing 36 people and causing economic losses of around USD100 million.
  • Heavy monsoon rains killed hundreds of people throughout Pakistan, India, Nepal,Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
  • Record U.S. flooding in the greater Tampa, Florida metro region caused widespread property and automobile damage.
  • A severe weather outbreak prompted economic losses of USD475 million and insured losses of USD325 million in the U.S., mainly due to hail and damaging straight-line winds.
  • China experienced two severe weather outbreaks that prompted economic losses of more than USD340 million.
  • Severe weather killed 20 people in Sudan.
  • The western third of the U.S., Canada’s British Columbia province, and southern and central portions of Europe all suffered damaging wildfire outbreaks during August. The costs of fighting the fires soared to well beyond USD1.0 billion globally.
  • Heatwave conditions throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa killed at least 125 people.

To view the full Impact Forecasting August 2015 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please follow the link:

Along with the report, users can access current and historical natural catastrophe data and event analysis on Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight website, which is updated bi-monthly as new data become available:

Further information

For further information please contact the Aon Benfield PR team: Andrew Wragg (+44 207 522 8183 / 07595 217168) David Bogg or Alexandra Lewis

SOURCE Aon plc


Don’t Get Burned: How to Organize an Emergency Wildfire Kit

Excerpted article: HuffPost British Columbia

Every summer heavily forested areas leave animals and humans alike susceptible to wildfires. By July of this year, British Columbia saw over 189 active fires burning — a number that Professional Organizers in Canada says is too high to not be prepared.

“Every family should organize an emergency kit and an emergency plan that they implement with their children — especially those living in heavily forested areas,” says Marie Potter, Marketing Director for Professional Organizers in Canada. “It takes less than a day, but can mean a lifetime.”

Potter also says that these kinds of kits can be used in the event of other natural disasters. “We don’t just see wildfires in Canada. We have extreme snowstorms, power outages and sometimes tornadoes. These kinds of kits are about being prepared and having that comfort,” says Potter.

To help Canadians stay safe all year round, we are sharing our top tips for organizing and implementing emergency kits.

Develop an emergency kit that can last 72 hours
In your kit, have necessary items such as:

  • Prescriptions, special medication and glasses
  • Copies of your essential documents: passports, birth certificates, SIN number, license and health cards
  • A change of clothes
  • Water and food
  • An LED flashlight and extra batteries
  • Cell phone, battery-operated cell phone charger and lithium batteries
  • Mess kit
  • Moist toilettes, toilet paper, garbage bags and ties for personal sanitation
  • First aid kit
  • Cash

When you make your kit, don’t forget about your pets! Always have an extra leash or pet bag, and pack extra water and food.

Have an evacuation strategy
In the event of a wildfire, you will want to have at least two routes that you and your family can use to safely get away from your home. You should also practice these routes with your children, but not in a way that can scare them. Make these routes a part of your family walks or regular bike trails.

It is also recommended to make a list of friends or family that you can contact or stay with if your home is not safe. Be sure to have their contact numbers in a notebook in your emergency kit, and let them know that they are a part of your evacuation plan.

If you don’t have family or friends that you can stay with, make a note of where the nearest emergency shelter is.

Organize necessary items so that they’re easy to find
Keep your emergency kit in an area of your home that you won’t forget. This area should also be easily accessible — near a door, near your bedside table, or even in your car. Once you find that spot, make sure that everyone in your family knows where it is.

Have the right policies and documents in place
Make sure you have insurance that can assist you if you lose any of your belongings. Know what your deductible is, and always keep a copy of your insurance coverage.

Wildfires and natural disasters are difficult to cope with, but being prepared is half the battle. To find an organizer who can help you make an emergency kit and plan, visit

Program launched in Atlantic Canada in effort to help curb cargo theft

By Kevin Bissett


FREDERICTON _ A national cargo theft reporting program that started as a pilot program in Quebec and Ontario is being expanded to the rest of the country, starting with Atlantic Canada.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada, the RCMP, and the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association are joining forces to run the program in the region.

“We’ve been running this program in Ontario and Quebec for over two years, and just with the information that we’ve been receiving through that part of the program _ which is why we’re taking it nationwide _ we’re seeing the results,” said Amanda Dean, Atlantic vice-president with IBC.

The program will be expanded to western Canada later this year.

Dean said that cargo theft has historically often gone unreported, but encouraging reporting by trucking companies and information from the public can have a major impact.

Jean-Marc Picard, executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association said often trucking companies wouldn’t report cargo thefts because of concerns of how it would affect their reputation or insurance.

But he said the companies now understand the need to work together to try to curb the crimes.

“The value of goods by theft represents $5 billion in Canada with tens of millions in Atlantic Canada,” Picard said.

“It’s a growing problem, and one that affects our economy, our local businesses, our carriers, our drivers and our livelihood.”

Recently a truck stolen from Moncton was found the next day in Quebec, emptied of its $50,000 cargo.

Picard said it’s clear that organized crime is involved in the thefts.

“These crimes are very well thought out and individuals know very well what is in the trailer, and there is a network to distribute the goods,” he said.

Under the new program, once a theft is reported, the information is distributed to police agencies and border officials in both Canada and the United States, along with all the trucking associations in the region in an effort to detect the movement of stolen goods.

RCMP Chief Supt. Wayne Gallant said New Brunswick is a gateway to major markets.

“There is the potential for thieves to target cargo vehicles on our highways and other transport routes,” he said.

“We must do as much as we can to discourage criminals from viewing this type of crime as an easy opportunity.”


Grand theft auto – it could happen to you

By Barrie Advance

Some cars are stolen to provide fast cash to enterprising criminals. Others are actually targeted for transport and resale to those who can afford to pay the price in western Africa. But those are more the exceptions than the rule.

The reason most cars are targeted — and stolen — is because of opportunity. The owner, in a moment when their brain cramped, forgot to lock the vehicle or completely close a window, making the two tons of metal on wheels a relatively easy target.

If you are targeted by any nefarious individual, then about all you can do is hope that your insurance policy is current — and paid up.

Long story short: all vehicles are always at risk of being targeted by thieves. Even so, there are things motorists can do to reduce, if not entirely eliminate, the possibility of becoming another unfortunate statistic. As an aside, were you aware that the majority of stolen vehicles are used to commit secondary crimes?

While there are many things people can do to steer clear of car thieves, the statistics show that criminals are experiencing quite a bit of success when it comes to separating people from their rides. In fact, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a car is stolen, on average, every three and a half minutes in Canada, which adds up to about 420 cars per day. Auto theft is estimated to cost Canadians $600 million annually.

Steering wheel locks and immobilizers will help to make cars less attractive to would-be vehicle thieves. Fortunately, there other best practices that can tip the scales in favour of car owners. For example, CAA South Central Ontario suggests the following tips to help prevent car theft:

•    Lock doors, and don’t leave the key in the ignition.
•    Don’t leave your car running unattended.
•    Keep all valuables out of sight; place shopping bags and laptops in the trunk, as well as electronics and accessories, or carry them when leaving the car.
•    Completely close windows and sunroofs.
•    Have an alarm system installed. The noise alone may be enough to scare away a thief and prevent a break-in.
•    Always park in a busy, well-lit area or in a garage.

In the unfortunate event your car is stolen and your insurance company considers it a write off (for whatever reason), you may well be in the market for a new set of wheels. Consider the online resources of AutoCatch.comto source a reliable replacement.


B.C. drought rating hits highest possible level, more water use restrictions possible

By Stephanie Ip, The Province

More water restrictions could be on the way after the provincial government raised the drought rating this week for B.C.’s south coast and Lower Fraser areas to a level 4, the highest possible rating.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations made the announcement Wednesday, attributing the new rating to continued dry conditions and ongoing low stream flows.

“Further declines in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, industry such as agriculture, wildlife, and fish stocks,” said the ministry’s notice. “All water users are urged to maximize their water conservation efforts.”

Following a level 4 drought advisory, regional water managers may announce additional restrictions on water usage if deemed necessary, in order to protect reservoirs.

On July 3, Metro Vancouver put into effect stage 2 watering restrictions, which allowed residents to water their lawns for only five hours a week in the early morning on an assigned day.

With the level 4 rating, all water users are “encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws to prolong water supplies and to maintain flows for fish and ecosystems.”

With water shortages come concerns about fish stocks.

“Low water levels can impede the passage of salmon to spawning grounds, increase susceptibility to disease, or cause stranding or death due to low oxygen and high water temperatures,” the ministry warned.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson said conditions are likely to become even drier before the weekend.

Thomson said that if the situation worsens the government may temporarily suspend water usage and water licences in affected watersheds, though so far no regulations have been introduced.

Low flow and water temperatures peaking at 25 C have led the government to impose fishing restrictions on nearly 100 rivers, mostly on southern Vancouver Island, in the Kootenays and the Okanagan.

The number of wildfires has dipped to 175, but a campfire ban remains in place across B.C., with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the fog zone.

B.C. last raised the south coast’s drought rating to level 3 on June 30, while Vancouver Island has been at level 4 since July 3.

– See more at:

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