Insured global cat losses third highest since 1970


Insured global losses resulting from natural and man-made disasters in 2017 are around $136 billion, well-above the annual average of the previous 10 years, and the third highest since sigma records began in 1970, according to the latest sigma report by Swiss Re.

The report will come as little surprise to reinsurers on Bermuda which have borne a big burden of the insured losses stemming from the high levels of hurricane activity in North America this year.

Total economic losses soared in 2017 to $306 billion from $188 billion in 2016. The accumulation of economic and insured losses ramped up in the second half of the year, due primarily to the three hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria – that hit the US and the Caribbean, and wildfires in California. Globally, more than 11 000 people have died or gone missing in disaster events in 2017, similar to 2016.

Total economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters are estimated to be $306 billion in 2017, up from $188 billion in 2016 and much more than the annual average of the previous 10 years ($190 billion). Global insured losses from disaster events in 2017 were around $136 billion, up from $65 billion in 2016, well above the previous 10-year annual average ($58 billion), and the third highest on sigma records. Natural catastrophes accounted for $131 billion of this year's insured losses1, and man-made disasters for the remaining $5 billion. More than 11 000 people have died or gone missing in catastrophe events, similar to 2016.

"In recent years, annual insurance losses from disaster events have exceeded $100 billion a few times", says Martin Bertogg, head of catastrophe perils at Swiss Re. "The insurance industry has demonstrated that it can cope very well with such high losses. However, significant protection gaps remain and if the industry is able to extend its reach, many more people and businesses can become better equipped to withstand the fallout from disaster events."

Swiss Re, Cat losses, Insurance, Reinsurance, Global

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