Take a chill pill, Boston: Your snowstorm actually wasn’t that bad.
Yes, it made it hard to get to work. Small businesses had a rotten February, the city had a record one-season snowfall, your heating bill was pretty ugly, and we all felt at least a little more depressed. But according to new figures, it was only the fourth-worst snowstorm on record, in insurance terms.
The UK insurance giant Aon said Tuesday that the heaviest storms that blew through in late February cost insurance companies $1.8 billion, with around $1.2 billion of those claims coming from New England. The total economic losses from those storms – including things that insurance wouldn’t pay for – amounted to $3 billion.
Even as far as snowstorms go, those numbers don’t even earn us a bronze medal. The snowstorms that swept from Texas through the northeast in April 2007 did $3.1 billion of damage, once you adjust for inflation, and winter weather that stretched from the Midwest to the Eastern seaboard in December 1983 did $3.5 billion, with barely any of it insured. The mother of all snowstorms hit in March 1993, doing an inflation-adjusted $9 billion in damage over this half of the country, Aon’s numbers show.
None of those snowstorms even cracked Aon’s list of the 10 most damaging disasters to his the US, however. Hurricanes tend to be much worse. Severe weather that moved through the Plains and Southeast in 2011 did $10.2 billion in damage, ranking 10th. And the inconvenience of not having a working T doesn’t even hold a candle to Hurricane Katrina, which did $150 billion in damage when it hammered the Gulf Coast, or Hurricane Sandy, whose price tag hit $69.3 billion.
In the first half of this year, global weather-related economic losses totaled $46 billion, according to Aon’s estimates. The average six-month loss over the past decade is $107 billion.
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