2019 kept the insurance industry on its toes.
It wasn’t necessarily a record-breaking year for losses, but events materialized in ways unseen in years past. The Midwest and Southeast US suffered several successive severe storms between March and July in addition to Mississippi River flooding that seemingly went on for half of 2019. Japan experienced multiple damaging typhoons. California was again threatened by multiple intense wildfires though ultimately resulting in relatively little damage compared to 2017 and 2018. In what could otherwise be characterized as a low intensity, high frequency year for catastrophes, 2019 is on track to be the least costly cat year for the US since 2015.
The severe storm season in the US was well above average with four consecutive months of above average Tornado activity (based on a near term view of prior 3 years). May topped out at over double the recent average Tornado count for the month. This elevated season was in addition to the late in the year October Dallas Tornado causing nearly $1B in loss. When it comes to Severe Storm risk, having a solid philosophy on concentration management is key.