Back in December, reinsurance heavyweight Swiss Re published estimates for total economic losses and insured losses worldwide from 2017’s disaster events – now final numbers are out and they paint an even worse picture of the year that was.
From the preliminary figure of US$306 billion for total economic losses from natural and man-made disasters, we see a jump to US$337 billion – a near doubling of 2016’s total losses of US$188 billion. As for global insured losses from catastrophes, the value reached US$144 billion, which is also higher than the December estimate of US$136 billion.
According to the latest sigma study from the Swiss Re Institute, 2017’s global insured losses from catastrophes represent the highest ever recorded in a single year, largely thanks to hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria’s (HIM) combined insured losses of US$92 billion.
“A key takeaway from HIM is that insurers need to consider multiple hurricanes occurring in a given year, as much as the severity of individual events, in their modelling of hurricane risk,” said Martin Bertogg, head of catastrophe perils at Swiss Re. “This is important from a risk management perspective as it will help insurers – and, ultimately society – be better prepared for similar magnitude events in the future.”
Meanwhile the world’s wildfires also broke records in 2017, with Swiss Re noting US$14 billion – the highest ever in a single year – in combined insurance losses.