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Natural disasters : 2017 recorded the highest insured losses



January 8, 2018 09:45

The hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria have made the year 2017 the year with the highest insured losses ever recorded, was reported by Munich Re. The other disasters of 2017, including the earthquake in Mexico, have made up the full cost of the losses at us $ 330 billion (US$ b), while 41 % of these losses were insured, a total of 135 G$.

«The natural disasters extremes of this year show the extent to which insurance is important to absorb the financial losses in the wake of these disasters. According to me, the catastrophic events, such as the three hurricanes or severe flooding in South Asia, we give a fore-taste of what is coming. Although individual occurrences may not be directly linked to climate change, our experts expect these extreme weather conditions recur more often in the future, » says Torsten Jeworrek, member of the board of directors of Munich Re, responsible of the reinsurance world.

710 disasters in the world in 2017

The statistics of Munich Re reported 710 natural disasters during the year, while the average is 605. In addition, the total losses of 330 billion US dollars is almost double the annual average of the past 10 years. The insured losses were three times higher than the annual average, which is 49 billion US dollars. The United States alone represent 50 % of total losses, and in North America as a whole, 83 %.

Europe experienced an agricultural year difficult, with a decrease of 50 % of the crop, caused by the late frost. These losses represent$ 3.6 billion US, of which only 650 million dollars (M$) were insured.

The deadly floods in Asia

About 2 700 people have died in South Asia due to flooding caused by the violent rains of the monsoon season, which lasted four weeks longer than usual. Only a small proportion of the US$ 3.5-billion of total losses were insured, and this has contributed to the humanitarian disaster.

«In the Asia-Pacific, the losses due to natural disasters has, fortunately, been less important than in previous years : they amounted to 33 G$, which is less than last year (96 G$) and the annual average of the past ten years (85 G$). At the same time, the figures show the extent to which the insurance coverage remains rare in Asia : only 8 % of losses were insured. And yet, insurance solutions that are appropriate exist, which can dramatically help the people and the economies to recover financially after a natural disaster, » says Hermann Pohlchristoph, a member of the board of directors of Munich Re, responsible for the Asia-Pacific region.

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