Insured losses from disaster events around the world cost $49 billion in 2016, a 33 percent jump over 2015. Much of the cost stemmed from Hurricane Matthew, earthquakes, hail and thunderstorms, according to preliminary numbers from Swiss Re.
About $42 billion of that number resulted from natural catastrophe losses, with the rest coming from man-made losses. Overall, disaster events led to the deaths of approximately 10,000 people around the world, Swiss Re said.
The $49 billion figure represents a big jump over $37 billion in insured losses from disaster events in 2015, but it still falls below the 10-year average of $53 billion, Swiss Re’s sigma preliminary estimate noted.
Economic losses—both natural catastrophe and man-made—landed at $158 billion for 2016. That’s 68 percent higher than the $94 billion in economic losses produced in 2015 but below the 10-year average of $175 billion. Out of that number, $150 billion came from natural catastrophe losses, and $8 billion resulted from man-made ones.
Some of the major, damaging natural environmental events in 2016 included:
- Earthquakes in Taiwan, Japan, Ecuador, Italy and New Zealand. An earthquake event that hit Kumamoto prefecture in Japan in April caused $20 billion in economic damages, $5 billion in insured losses and claimed the lives of 137 people. The event caused major structural damage, fires and collapsed buildings.
- Another earthquake, which hit central Italy in August, killing nearly 300 people and destroying some small towns. Further quakes hit the region in December. Reconstruction costs could reach $5 billion, but insured losses were only $70 million, in large part due to lack of coverage.
- October’s Hurricane Matthew, which left devastation behind in parts of the Caribbean and southeastern U.S. Economic losses landed at $8 billion, and insured losses surpassed $4 billion. Approximately 733 people died, mostly in Haiti.
- Major hail and thunderstorms in Texas in April, which caused $3.5 billion in economic losses and $3 billion in insured losses.
- Widespread flooding hit the U.S., Europe and Asia. The worst event was in August, when heavy rains left behind significant flooding in Louisiana and Mississippi. Economic losses came in at $10 billion, and private insured losses surpassed $1 billion. Losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program were not included in this tally.
- Canada’s wildfires in May, which destroyed much of the town of Fort McMurray on the west coast. Economic losses nearly hit $4 billion, and insured losses were approximately $2.8 billion. Swiss Re notes that this is one of the most expensive wildfire events in insurance industry history and the biggest-ever Canadian insurance sector loss.
Source: Swiss Re