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December 2019 preview: Historical catastrophe activity

By Ted Gregory  |  December 2, 2019

December traditionally experiences catastrophes from wind and thunderstorm events or winter storms, but in recent years, wildfires have been a growing threat.

In December 2017, three wildfires caused more than $2.7 billion in estimated insured losses from approximately 30,150 claims—the costliest PCS®-designated events in December in the past ten years.

Overall, there have been 12 catastrophes in December during the past decade. Two of those were winter storms, seven were wind and thunderstorm events, and three were wildland fires. In total, these 12 catastrophes resulted in losses of approximately $4.3 billion from approximately 261,300 claims.

December 2015 had the highest claim volume, primarily from a wind and thunderstorm event that generated more than 95,000 claims. In December 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2016, there was minimal activity, and PCS designated no catastrophe events.

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

December traditionally experiences catastrophes from wind and thunderstorm events or winter storms, but in recent years, wildfires have been a growing threat.

In December 2017, three wildfires caused more than $2.7 billion in estimated insured losses from approximately 30,150 claims—the costliest PCS®-designated events in December in the past ten years.

Overall, there have been 12 catastrophes in December during the past decade. Two of those were winter storms, seven were wind and thunderstorm events, and three were wildland fires. In total, these 12 catastrophes resulted in losses of approximately $4.3 billion from approximately 261,300 claims.

December 2015 had the highest claim volume, primarily from a wind and thunderstorm event that generated more than 95,000 claims. In December 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2016, there was minimal activity, and PCS designated no catastrophe events.

The following graph illustrates catastrophe activity for the month of December 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.