2016 saw 315 natural catastrophes that generated economic losses of $210 billion, according to Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, in its 2016 Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report.
To place this in context, 2016 was the seventh highest year on record with the combined economic loss exceeding the $200 billion threshold for the first time since 2013.
The top three perils—flooding, earthquake and severe weather—combined for 70 percent of all economic losses in 2016. While at least 72 percent of catastrophe losses occurred outside of the United States, it still accounted for 56 percent of global insured losses.
Overall, just 26 percent ($54 billion) of overall economic losses were covered by insurance in 2016 due to a higher percentage of damage occurring in areas with a lower insurance penetration. However, the public and private insurance industry losses were 7 percent above the 16-year average and the highest insured loss total since 2012. 2016 marked the end of a four-year downward trend since the record year in 2011.
There were at least 34 natural disasters that caused more than $1.0 billion in economic damage around the globe, though just 11 of those events had insurable losses reach the same threshold. The vast majority of the billion-dollar events (30) were weather-related, and only nine had insured losses at or above $1.0 billion.
Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting director and meteorologist, said: “After a decline in catastrophe losses during the previous four years, 2016 marked a bit of an uptick in natural peril costs to the global economy.
“When recognising that we have seen a nominal increase in both annual and individual weather disaster costs in recent decades, we recognise that factors such as climate change, more intense weather events, greater coastal exposures and population migration shifts are all contributors to the growing trend.
“With these parameters in place, and forecasts continuing to signal greater risk and vulnerability, it is anticipated that weather-related catastrophe losses will further increase in the coming years. The data and analysis in this report will help businesses, communities, governments and the re/insurance industry to better prepare and help mitigate the growing risks of these disasters.”
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Aon Benfield, Catastrophe, Report, Steve Bowen