Global insured catastrophe losses reached $136 billion in 2017, more than double last year’s number. Blame a large spike in extreme weather, according to Swiss Re’s preliminary sigma estimates.
Of that number, natural catastrophes contributed to $131 billion of this year’s insured losses, and the rest came from man-made disasters, Swiss Re said.
In 2016, global insured losses from disaster events came in at $65 billion, Swiss Re said, adding that both years were well above the previous 10-year annual average of about $58 billion. The likes of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and fall wildfires in California are to blame for the 2017 insured loss result, among other events. Swiss Re said that the 2017 hurricane season alone was the second costliest after 2005, according to its sigma records
In 2016 and 2017, more than 11,000 people died or went missing in catastrophe events, according to the reinsurer.
The 2017 global insured loss result is the third highest since sigma records began in 1970 and well above the annual average of the previous decade, Swiss Re said.
Underscoring the tough year, Swiss Re noted that preliminary economic loss estimates from natural and man-made disasters hit $306 billion, up from $188 billion in 2016. The annual average of the previous 10 years was about $190 million.
Marton Bertogg, head of Catastrophe Perils at Swiss Re, said that the annual insurance losses from disaster events have exceeded $100 billion a few times in recent years and that the industry should take note.
“The insurance industry has demonstrated that it can cope very well with such high losses,” Bertogg said in prepared remarks. “However, significant protection gaps remain, and if the industry is able to extend its reach, many more people and businesses can become better equipped to withstand the fallout from disaster events.”
Source: Swiss Re