The 2022 North Atlantic hurricane season caused approximately $65 billion in insured losses and overall losses around $110 billion, making it the third-most expensive season to date, according to preliminary estimates from Munich Re.
This excludes losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which are estimated at $3.5-$5.3 billion so far.
Hurricane Ian alone is expected to cost insurers $60 billion, with overall losses of around $100 billion, Munich Re said. Ian was the fifth-strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland since systematic records began over 100 years ago.
Despite the extreme devastation, Munich Re said the damage caused by Hurricane Ian was within the scope of the scenarios used in its risk models.
“2022 continues the trend of increasing losses from U.S. hurricanes in recent years,” said Ernst Rauch, chief climate scientist at Munich Re. “Additionally, just a single storm like Ian is enough to cause immense losses. This is not new, of course, but it is important. Because it is precisely hurricanes like Ian—very strong storms with extreme precipitation—that will occur more frequently in the future due to climate change.”
The 2022 season saw 14 named storms, with eight reaching hurricane status and two becoming major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). While storm activity was above the long-term average for 1950–2021 (12.2 named storms, 6.4 hurricanes and 2.7 severe hurricanes), it was below the average since 1995 for a storm-active warm phase in the North Atlantic (15.7 named storms, 7.7 hurricanes and 3.6 major hurricanes).
The season was forecasted to be much busier, but Munich Re said that “unusually dry air in higher layers of the atmosphere and temporarily cooler water temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic meant that only a few and mostly weaker storms developed early in the season until the end of August.”
Source: Munich Re
(Photo: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)