2013 Natural Disasters Cost Insurers $31 Billion


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Munich Re, the German insurance giant, yesterday released a report giving some insight into how natural disasters during 2013 have affected the insurance industry.

Natural disasters cost insurers $31 billion in 2013 and caused $125 billion of economic damage. Both of these figures are lower than the average of the last 10 years of $56 billion of insurance costs and $184 billion of overall economic damage.

Although without doubt the worst natural disaster of the year was Typhoon Haiyan, the overall economic losses from totalled $10 billion. Less than the $15 billion cost of the flooding in central Europe in May and June.
Insurance losses were also low for the Typhoon Haiyan disaster as fewer people and businesses in the affected areas have insurance. By comparison, the insurance industry had to pay out $3 billion in claims for the floods disaster that struck central Europe in June 2013.

Strangely the most costly disaster for the insurance industry was one that had a much lower profile, certainly in the global media. The hailstorms in southern Germany of July 2013 cost insurers $3.7 billion in damage claims, many from homes but also from damaged cars.

Munch Re’s report also includes the cost of life. Around 20,000 people died from natural disasters in 2013. By comparison, 9,655 people were killed by natural disasters in 2012, and 30,773 in 2011 (according to Relief Web). The annual average for 2000 to 2011 is 107,000.

Most of the deaths in 2013 were from Typhoon Haiyan (6,100 in Philippines, Vietnam, China combined) and floods in India (5,500), mostly in the Uttarakhand floods of June 2013

Sources: Munich Re