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April 2019 preview: Historical catastrophe activity

By Ted Gregory  |  April 2, 2019

With winter winding down, we look to April and the potential catastrophe risks for the month.

Violent tornadoes in April

Historically, April is an active month for violent tornadoes. There have been more violent tornadoes—EF4 and EF5—in April than any other month from 1950 through 2013. And just last year, there were 146 tornado reports for the month.

In the past ten years, there’s been an average of 222 U.S. tornadoes in April, with April 2011 ranked as the most active month on record for tornadoes. There were 758 confirmed April tornadoes that year (exceeding the prior record of 267 in April 1974), with an estimated 364 fatalities. April 2011 was also the costliest April over the last ten years in terms of insured losses (more than $13 billion), as the graph below indicates.

49 April catastrophes since 2009

PCS has designated 49 April catastrophes since 2009, which have resulted in approximately $39.8 billion in insured losses and more than 5.5 million claims. Catastrophe 46 in 2011, a wind and thunderstorm event, was the most severe catastrophe, resulting in 720,000 claims and an estimated $7.3 billion in insured losses.

In the last decade, April 2017 had the most overall catastrophes, though the insured losses weren’t as high as other years. That year, in April, there were seven PCS-designated catastrophes, all of which were wind and thunderstorm events. Last April, PCS designated six catastrophes, which generated 418,000 claims and more than $3.1 billion in losses.

The following graph illustrates catastrophe activity for the month of April from 2009 to 2018 in terms of dollar losses and claim volumes.


Ted Gregory is director of operations for PCS at Verisk. You can contact Ted at tgregory@verisk.com.

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