In the immediate aftermath of Eberhard, damage information was sparse, limited primarily to tree fall and disruption to rail and airline networks. As the RMS Event Response team continued to monitor the latest developments in the days that followed, we use a series of thresholds that must be met in order to enact distinct levels of response, which includes modeling tools and insurance industry loss estimates.
These thresholds ensure we provide resources for events with the greatest market interest. What was interesting in this specific case, was while recorded wind gusts at many weather stations were significant, this did not appear to immediately translate into physical property damage.
Several days later, a risk modeler issued a loss estimate in excess of this range, extending the uncertainty further. For RMS, it is important that our response reflects all data sources — especially when the data is conflicting — and not just pure modeling. Our internal work leans towards the lower end of the loss range currently in the market and this falls below our typical threshold of further response. However, we continue to monitor developments and engage with our clients as claims come in to consider improvements to our process.
European windstorms follow a strong seasonality with peak of strongest activity during the winter months — December to February, and lowest activity in the summer. This is due to the initial conditions required for their formation.
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European windstorms, or extra-tropical cyclones, form in areas where warm air masses from the south meet cold polar air masses, typically in the beginning of the winter, when oceans are still warm but polar air is already cold. Only about 11 percent of European windstorms occur in March, compared to 25 percent and 15 percent in January and February, as shown on this figure below. So far, March brought eight small to medium-size windstorms; which may seem excessive. But these are essentially eight named low pressure systems, and not all of them produced damage, and only two or three of them could be important enough for the insurance industry.
These losses should be higher than what we are observing in March According to the RMS Europe Windstorm Models, there is about a 25 percent chance of having two windstorms in March in Europe 20 percent of three storms.
From the loss perspective, March did not stand out either. Seasonal forecasts always come with an amount of uncertainty.
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The season is not yet over, but the storm activity until now seems to support this forecast, despite this uptick in the month of March. Requires iOS 7. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. App Store Preview.
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