Asia-Pacific was one of the hardest-hit regions by natural catastrophes in 2018, with economic losses of over US$89 billion, according to a report by Aon.
The ‘Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight: 2018 Annual Report’ revealed that there were 394 natural catastrophe events globally in 2018, generating economic losses of US$225 billion. Of these, 144 were in Asia-Pacific, inflicting more than US$89 billion in economic losses, or around 40% of the global total.
According to the report, the Asia-Pacific figure was slightly higher than the 21st century average (US$87 billion) and over 50% higher than the median loss from 2000-2017 (US$57.5 billion). Furthermore, the overall insured loss (US$20.6 billion) for the region was almost 91% higher than the average insured loss for 2000-2017 (US$10.8 billion) and nearly four times higher than the median loss (US$5.2 billion).
Japan was the market most heavily hit by natural catastrophes in the region, in terms of economic and insured losses, with the top three most expensive events of the year. In September, Typhoon Jebi caused US$13 billion economic losses and US$8.5 billion in insurance payouts. In the same month, Typhoon Trami caused an estimated economic loss of US$4.5 billion with insurance payouts worth US$2.6 billion. In July, the remnants of Typhoon Prapiroon intensified the Mei-Yu rains causing widespread flooding in Japan. Economic losses due to the event reached US$10 billion with insured losses of US$2.65 billion.
Storms also caused massive losses elsewhere in Asia, with Typhoon Mangkhut inflicting US$6 billion in economic losses and US$1.3 billion in insured losses across China, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
There were 31 major severe weather events across the region in 2018 – or almost 50% more than the average of 21 from 2000 to 2017.
“Among the takeaways from the events of 2018 was the recognition that catastrophe risk continues to evolve,” said Steve Bowen, director and meteorologist at Aon’s Impact Forecasting team. “The complex combination of socioeconomics, shifts in population and exposure into vulnerable locations, plus a changing climate contributing to more volatile weather patterns, is forcing new conversations to sufficiently handle the need for mitigation and resilience measures. Natural disasters are always going to occur. How well we prepare can and will play a key role in future event losses.”