Asia-Pacific catastrophe losses down – Munich Re

Region mostly spared from soaring losses due to natural catastrophes, but insurance coverage remains very low

Asia-Pacific catastrophe losses down – Munich Re

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Despite global natural catastrophe losses soaring to record heights, Asia-Pacific has been mostly spared, according to a report by global reinsurer Munich Re.

A trio of destructive hurricanes that hit the Americas – Harvey, Irma, and Maria – contributed to US$330 billion in total natural disaster losses (including uninsured losses) worldwide for 2017. This figure is almost double the 10-year, inflation-adjusted average of US$170 billion.

Meanwhile, the final insurance bill is expected at around US$135 billion, or only 41% of the total losses.

In the Asia-Pacific region, natural catastrophe losses were at US$33 billion, far below 2016’s total of US$96 billion and the 10-year adjusted average of US$85 billion. Despite the relatively low financial losses, South Asia experienced a humanitarian catastrophe, with an unusually long and severe monsoon season causing 2,700 deaths in Nepal’s Terai lowlands and several Indian provinces near the Himalayas. In some districts, up to three-fourths of land area was flooded.

“The numbers show how alarmingly sparse insurance cover still is in Asia: only 8% of losses there were insured,” commented Hermann Pohlchristoph, Munich Re board member responsible for Asia-
Pacific. “And yet appropriate insurance solutions do exist, which can significantly help get people and economies back on their feet financially after a natural disaster.”

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