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May 2018 Preview: Historical catastrophe activity

By Ted Gregory  |  May 1, 2018
Streets in downtown Denver, Colorado, under a 2017 hail storm. Photo by Len Edgerly via Wikimedia Commons.

As the weather warms in the U.S., claims teams are preparing for the unpredictable next few months. In the past decade, May has seen significant catastrophe activity; the month also signals that hurricane season is right around the corner.

$32.8 billion in insured damages

In the ten-year period from 2008 through 2017, PCS designated 40 catastrophes in May. All weather-related events caused approximately $32.8 billion in insured damages from nearly 4.3 million claims.

Over the past decade, the month of May averaged four catastrophes. May 2008 was the most active during this period with six catastrophes. The largest May event of the last ten years occurred in 2011: CAT 48 affected 20 states and caused an estimated $6.9 billion in insured losses, from approximately 755,000 claims.

Last year, we saw four catastrophe events in May which generated 431,000 claims and caused an estimated $3.7 billion in insured losses. The largest was CAT 1732 which caused an estimated $2.5 billion in insured losses and generated 260,000 claims. The event included a major hail storm in Colorado which accounted for $2.2 billion in insured losses and 220,000 claims.May Historical Data from PCS

The above graph illustrates catastrophe activity for the month of May from 2008 to 2017 in terms of dollar losses and claim volumes.

Ted Gregory is director of operations for PCS at Verisk. You can contact Ted at