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November 2020 preview: Historical catastrophe activity

By Ted Gregory  |  November 6, 2020

In 2019, five named storms were designated as PCS® catastrophes in the United States, all of which occurred before November.With the hurricane season ending officially on November 30, we look forward to the close of another tropical storm year.

In 2019, five named storms were designated as PCS® catastrophes in the United States, all of which occurred before November: Hurricane Barry, Hurricane Dorian, Tropical Storm Imelda, Tropical Storm Nestor, and Tropical Storm Olga. The total loss to the insurance industry caused by the 2019 tropical catastrophes, which impacted the United States, exceeded $1.8 billion.

November isn’t usually an active month for catastrophes. The last ten Novembers saw a total of 17 PCS catastrophe designations, which consisted of ten wind and thunderstorm events, three wildland fires, three winter storms, and one earthquake. The 17 catastrophes caused more than 478,000 claims with an estimated insured loss of more than $17.3 billion. None were designated in 2010 and 2012, and only one catastrophe was designated each year in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017.

However, November 2018 had five catastrophe designations, which was the costliest November for insurers in the last decade. It had approximately 120,000 claims with an insured estimate loss of nearly $13.75 billion, of which the Camp and Woolsey wildland fires combined accounted for the majority of the total.

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


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