Overall, 2015 was a below-average year for disaster losses, according to the latest sigma study from Swiss Re.
Swiss Re counted 353 disaster events in 2015, with total economic losses of $92 billion, down from $113 billion in 2014 and well below the inflation-adjusted average of $192 billion for the previous 10 years. Global insured losses from natural and man-made disaster events last year were $37 billion, Swiss Re said, well below the 10-year average of $62 billion.
The largest insured loss of the year came in August, when two massive explosions at the Port of Tianjin in China caused an estimated property loss of $2.5-$3.5 billion, making it the largest man-made insured loss event ever recorded in Asia. The sigma report includes a special chapter on the explosions in Tianjin, highlighting the challenge of accumulation risk in large transportation hubs such as ports.
In terms of economic loss, the biggest disaster of the year was the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal in April, costing an estimated $6 billion, most of which was uninsured. The earthquake killed almost 9,000 people, Swiss Re said, with damage extending to India, China and Bangladesh.
Other highlights from Swiss Re’s sigma study:
- In the U.S., a large storm in February caused widespread damage in 17 states, with insured losses estimated to be over $2 billion, mainly from burst pipes and ice weight/water damage to property. Insured losses from all the U.S. winter storms together amounted to $3.2 billion, Swiss Re said, double the annual average of the previous 10 years.
- A trio of storms brought heavy rain and flooding to the U.K. and Ireland in December. Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank caused estimated insured losses of around $2 billion.
- India was hit by severe flooding in November from heavy monsoon rains. The total losses were estimated to be at least $2 billion, with insured losses of $0.8 billion, making the floods the second-costliest insurance event in India on sigma records.
Source: Swiss Re