Thursday, December 27, 2007

Natural catastrophe figures for 2007: Higher losses despite absence of megacatastrophes, very many loss events

Munich Re: The insurance industry had to cope with far higher natural catastrophe losses in 2007 than in 2006, with its unusually low loss figures. Despite the general absence of extreme events, overall economic losses had reached US$ 75bn by the end of December – an increase of 50% on 2006 (US$ 50bn). However, the loss figures were well short of 2005’s record US$ 220bn. At just under US$ 30bn, insured losses were almost double those of 2006 (US$ 15bn). The number of natural catastrophes recorded in 2007 was 950 (compared with 850 in 2006), the highest figure since 1974, when Munich Re began keeping systematic records in its NatCatService database.

Board member Dr. Torsten Jeworrek: "The figures confirm our expectations and endorse our insistence that risks be consistently written at adequate prices, despite years with comparatively low losses as in 2006. The trend in respect of weather extremes shows that climate change is already taking effect and that more such extremes are to be expected in the future. We should not be misled by the absence of megacatastrophes in 2007."

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