Bright Lightbulb With Number 2015Insured losses from natural catastrophes dropped in 2015 compared to 2014. But man-made losses spiked higher, led by China’s Port of Tianjin explosions in August, Swiss Re said in its preliminary sigma report estimates.

At the same time, large disasters in other parts of the world led to fatalities hitting an estimated 26,000 in 2015, more than double the number from 2014, according to Swiss Re. Mass fatalities came from events including a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal and nearby countries, leading to 9,000 people losing their lives, the destruction of 500,000 homes and more than $6 billion in economic losses (of which only $160 million are insured).

The most costliest man-made disaster: The Tianjin explosion, which killed 173 people, caused many injuries, damaged and destroyed vehicles, shipping containers, production facilities and nearby property. Initial indications are that the event led to at least $2 billion in claims, making it the largest man-made loss event in Asia for the insurance industry.

Fires and explosions at other industrial sites and energy facilities in various locales added roughly $3 billion more to the main-made insured loss-tally, Swiss Re said.

Here’s a roundup of the Swiss Re sigma estimates:

  • Overall, total economic losses reached an estimated $85 billion in 2015, down from $113 billion in 2014 and the previous 10-year loss average of $192 billion.
  • Natural catastrophes caused $74 billion in losses; man-made disasters led to the remaining $11 billion, Swiss Re said.
  • Of the total economic losses, approximately $32 billion were insured, down from $35 billion in 2014.
  • Insured losses triggered by natural disasters hit an estimated $23 billion, a drop compared to $28 billion in 2014, and well below the annual average of $55 billion for the previous 10 years of natural catastrophe insured losses.
  • Man-made disasters triggered $9 billion in estimated overall insurance losses in 2015, a spike from $7 billion generated in 2014.

Swiss Re cautioned that its estimates are preliminary and that final numbers could change once full-year source data is gathered and complete.

Source: Swiss Re