Total economic losses from natural and man-made disasters in 2018 are down from the previous year, but insured losses are hovering near record territory.

Swiss Re’s latest sigma report calculated an estimated $155 billion in economic losses from natural and man-made disasters for $155 billion, versus $350 billion in 2017. Global insured losses for catastrophes reached an estimated $79 billion for 2018, which Swiss Re said is the fourth highest in sigma records, and higher than the annual average of the previous 10 years.

Either way you look at it, however, catastrophe losses have stung.

Some of the additional sigma report findings:

  • More than 11,000 people have died or been reported missing in 2018 disaster events, similar to the number of victims in 2017.
  • While total economic losses from natural and man-made disasters reached $155 billion in 2018, most of that number comes from natural catastrophes, which propelled $146 billion of those losses.
  • The amount of economic losses covered by insurance – $79 billion – is down from $150 billion in 2017, but more than the previous 10-year average of $71 billion.
  • Most of the insured losses were regarding natural catastrophes, about $71 billion of the total, with man-made disasters covering the difference.
  • Aggregated losses from small and mid-sized disaster events caused sizable overall insured losses.
  • Losses from catastrophes were most often on coastlines and where urban life meets wildlife, underscoring population vulnerability in both locations.

Disasters through 2018 included Hurricanes Michael and Florence in the U.S.; Typhoons Jebi, Trami and Mangkhut; heat waves, droughts and wildfires in Europe and California and volcanic eruptions in Hawaii.

Swiss Re said that 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of its sigma reports.

Source: Swiss Re