Globally, insurers lost $136 billion from natural and man-made disasters in 2017, up from $65 billion in 2016, the third highest on record. This is “well above the previous 10-year annual average, and the third highest on sigma records,” Swiss Re said in its report. Natural disasters accounted for $131 billion of 2017’s insured losses, and man-made disasters for the remaining $5 billion. The human loss totaled around 11,000 deaths, similar to 2016.
Martin Bertogg, Head of Catastrophe Perils at Swiss Re said, “in recent years, annual insurance losses from disaster events have exceeded USD 100 billion a few times. 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,” he added.
According to Swiss Re, “extreme weather in the US in the second half of 2017” has been the primary driver for high insured losses:
In August and September, three category 4+ hurricanes – Harvey, Irma, and Maria (HIM) – made landfall in the US. Destruction from the three hurricanes stretched from the Texas coast (Harvey) through West Florida to the Caribbean (Irma and Maria), together causing insured losses estimated to be almost USD 93 billion.
Given the vast geographic footprint of the hurricanes, which affected multiple locations in quick succession and impacted multiple lines of business, a full assessment of the insured losses is still ongoing.
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