US natural disaster losses down 78 percent in 2013


In a reversal from 2012, just 16 percent of all economic losses occurred in the US last year according to Impact Forecasting’s Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report. The largest global events were concentrated in Europe and Asia. However, the US accounted for 45 percent of all insured losses globally due to higher insurance penetration.

Stephen Mildenhall, CEO of Aon Benfield Analytics, said: “2013 was an active year for serious catastrophe events but one in which the industry dodged the bullet of a single dominating insured event. Typhoon Haiyan, however, demonstrated the real and ever-present potential for large-scale destruction. US insured losses, at 45 percent of the total, were in-line with the US 42 percent share of global property premium.”

296 separate events produced economic losses of $192 billion and total insured losses of $45 billion. The figure represents the lowest total insured losses since 2009, 22 percent below the 10-year average.

Steve Bowen, senior scientist and meteorologist at Impact Forecasting, said: “despite registering nine separate billion-dollar events, natural disaster losses in the US were down 78 percent from 2012. The most significant losses in 2013 were found in Europe and Asia Pacific, where each region endured multiple events that had major financial and social implications.”

According to Bowen, Typhoon Haiyan was the most catastrophic event of 2013— despite relatively mild insured losses, the typhoon left more than 8,000 people dead or missing. Flooding in Europe, he said, saw economic losses at their highest since 2002 and 90 percent above the region’s recent 10-year average.

Severe droughts contributed to billion-dollar losses in Brazil, China, New Zealand and the US. The report indicates that 2013 was the fourth warmest year on record since global and land ocean temperature records began in 1880. 

Natural catastrophe, property catastrophe, Aon Benfield, Impact Forecasting, US

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