2014 Weather-Related Catastrophes in Review

By Joe Louwagie February 18, 2015

In a recent A.M. Best episode entitled “2014 Was a Surprising Year for Natural Catastrophes,” Ted Gregory, Manager at Property Claims Services® (PCS®) and Carl Hedde, Head of Risk Accumulation at Munich Re America discuss weather-related catastrophes in 2014 and the impact they’ve had on the insurance industry.

Carl Hedde says that since no major hurricane made landfall in the United States in 2014, insurers faced lower claims than usual. Ted Gregory discusses two major events that were designated by PCS:

  • The Polar Vortex, CAT 32, was the second largest winter storm event that PCS has designated since 1950
  • The November 2014 winter storm event, CAT 59, a record snow storm affecting western New York and Buffalo

An event with low insurance penetration was the Napa Valley, California earthquake in August.  Ted Gregory says: “It could have been a lot worse in terms of insured loss. The take up rate by the California Earthquake Authority in that area happened to be only five to six percent of the residents who are homeowners in the Napa Valley.”

In general, U.S. losses were quite low during 2014; there was a total of $15.3 billion in insured losses.

The video also highlighted A.M Best’s list of the top five events of 2014 in terms of insured losses:

  1. The Japan winter storm in February, which caused $3.10 billion in insured losses
  2. The U.S severe storms in May, which caused $2.90 billion in insured losses
  3. The severe storms in Europe (Belgium, France, Germany) in June, which caused $2.80 billion in insured losses
  4. The U.S. and Canadian winter storms in January, which caused $1.70 billion in insured losses
  5. The severe U.S. storms in June, which caused $1.30 billion in insured losses.

Download the 2014 PCS North American Catastrophe Review >>


Joe Louwagie

Joe Louwagie is assistant vice president, Property Claim Services (PCS). PCS is a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business.