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Home News Disasters cost $130 billion in 2013: Swiss Re

Disasters cost $130 billion in 2013: Swiss Re

Published on 18/12/2013

Disasters including the floods that struck central Europe in June caused global economic losses of about $130 billion in 2013, reinsurer Swiss Re said on Wednesday.

The insurance industry is likely to cover about $44 billion (32 billion euros) of all losses from such catastrophes, the company said, noting that the figure was substantially lower than the $81 billion seen in 2012, when Superstorm Sandy battered the United States.

June’s European floods in Germany, the Czech Republic and neighbouring countries caused losses of around $18 billion, with $4.0 billion of that insured, Swiss Re said.

Insured losses were higher than the 2002 floods in the same region which cost the industry $3.0 billion at current prices, the company said.

They rank as the second most expensive fresh-water flood on record, but still lie a distant second to the 2011 Thailand flood which led to insured claims of over $16 billion, Swiss Re underlined.

Europe was also hit by Hailstorm Andreas in Germany and France in July, with insured losses of $3.0 billion.

The more recent Windstorm Christian and Windstorm Xavier in central and northern Europe triggered insured losses of around $1.0 billion each.

June rains and flooding in the Canadian province of Alberta led to insured losses of $2.0 billion, the highest ever recorded in the country for any disaster.

There were also heavy rains and floods in Australia, India, China, Indonesia, Southern Africa and Argentina this year.

In terms of lives lost, last month’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines was the deadliest single disaster, killing more than 7,000 people, Swiss Re noted.

But despite the devastation wreaked, insured losses are expected to be modest as few people are insured in the Philippines and other developing nations.

“In many parts of the world, insurance penetration remains low,” Swiss Re’s chief economic Kurt Karl said in a statement.

“Together with preventative measures, insurance can lessen the destructive impact and financial burden that large catastrophic events can have on people’s lives. It can also help accelerate reconstruction efforts, as we have seen in areas where insurance penetration is higher,” he added.