Severe flooding in Australia and Indonesia last month caused estimated economic losses of around $6bn, according to a report published by Aon Benfield yesterday.
In its latest monthly Global catastrophe recap report, the firm's subsidiary Impact Forecasting detailed how torrential monsoonal rains caused severe flooding through the Indonesian capital Jakarta, killing at least 41 people.
Indonesian government estimates put economic losses from the floods at $3.31bn, with insured losses above $311m. At least 100,274 homes were destroyed.
Australian states Queensland and New South Wales were hit by flooding which left at least six people dead. Insured losses are estimated at $313m, with more than 27,800 insurance claims having been filed by the end of January. Economic losses in Queensland alone were estimated at $2.5bn, with more than 2,500 properties inundated in the city of Bundaberg.
Further flooding was reported last month in Southern Africa, with more than 100 people killed across five countries. At least 150,000 people were displaced along the Limpopo and Zambezi river basins in Mozambique, while Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Kenya were also hit.
Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, said: 'As our January catastrophe report highlights, the potential for excessive rainfall and resultant flooding is a major challenge for countries across the world, and yet it is still one of the lesser modelled perils on a global basis.'
Among the other natural catastrophes recorded last month were a strong US storm system comprisingat least 50 tornadoes - aside from 2008, this was the second largest outbreak of tornadoes in the US in January since 1950.
The tornadoes led to widespread severe weather across central and eastern sections of the US, killing three people. Georgia's Department of Insurance estimated insured losses of $75m, while total economic losses were projected in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Last month also saw the Middle East suffer its strongest winter storm for more than a decade. Heavy rain, snow, hail and damaging winds left at least 11 people dead, with Israel - the worst hit country - suffering total economic losses estimated at $345m.