Global disaster costs ‘well below average’

Global insured losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2015 were ‘well-below average’ according to one international business

Global insured losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters last year were ‘well-below average’ according to Swiss Re.

The reinsurance giant revealed in its latest Sigma study that in 2015, global insured losses were US$37 billion, “well below the US$ 62 billion average of the previous ten years.”

The report also noted that 2015 saw the highest number of disaster events ever recorded with 353 in total and 198 of those being natural catastrophes.

The low-levels of losses were attributed to a benign hurricane season in the United States and the impacts felt by El Nino globally.

“The relatively low level of losses was largely due to another benign hurricane season in the US. El Niño in 2015 contributed to weather patterns deviating from average climate norms. For instance, tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic was suppressed, while the Pacific Ocean basin had a very active season,” the report said.

In Oceania, the report recorded US$2.1 billion worth of insured losses “primarily caused” by thunderstorms and tropical cyclones.”

“In April, a powerful storm system brought large hail and strong winds to New South Wales, causing insured losses of US$0.7billion, the costliest catastrophe event in Australia and the region last year,” the report notes.

Asia was the hardest hit region when it came to disasters last year, with the Nepal earthquake and Tianjin port explosion taking the headlines as Swiss Re's chief economist, Kurt Karl, said disaster shows the need for global insurance coverage.

"The earthquake in Nepal struck close to the capital Kathmandu, causing widespread devastation and losses, which were mostly uninsured,” Karl said.

“Yet again, tragedy has hit an area where people are least able to protect themselves."

The report also includes a special feature on the Tianjin Port explosion which ranked as the biggest man-made insurance loss event ever record in Asia and ranked as the biggest man-made insurance loss since the September 11 attacks.

To access the report, visit the Swiss Re website.

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