Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Total economic losses from disasters reached USD 56 billion in 2013

A press release from Swiss Re: ...According to preliminary sigma estimates, total economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters were USD 56 billion in the first half of 2013. The global insurance industry covered USD 20 billion of the total losses, of which USD 17 billion were caused by natural catastrophes, in large part due to widespread flood events. In the first half of 2013, disasters claimed 7 000 lives.

The overall economic losses to society of USD 56 billion were below the USD 67 billion of H1 2012. Insured losses were USD 20 billion, of which USD 17 billion stemmed from natural catastrophes. This was lower than the USD 21 billion in H1 2012 and also below the average of the last 10 years. Man-made disasters triggered an additional USD 3 billion in claims, unchanged from H1 2012.

In H1 2013, flooding was a main driver of natural catastrophe-related losses, causing an estimated USD 8 billion in insurance claims globally. As a result, 2013 is already the second most expensive calendar year in terms of insured flood losses on sigma records. In 2011, the Thailand event alone brought record flood losses of more than USD 16 billion.

...Jens Mehlhorn, Head of Flood Risk at Swiss Re: "Flooding continues to wreak havoc across all areas of the world. No one is immune from this ever-present disaster threat. Sadly, without insurance, the impact of these events is severe for many. While we cannot stop future floods, we believe that preventative actions can be taken to mitigate the overall impact of extreme weather events."

 ...Kurt Karl, Chief Economist at Swiss Re, says "Though 2013 has so far been a below-average loss year, the severity of the ongoing North Atlantic hurricane season, and other disasters such as winter storms in Europe, could still increase insured losses for 2013 substantially".

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