Insurers natural catastrophies hit $78bn in 2020 – Willi Re

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Insured losses from major natural  catsstsdtrophies totalled $78m in 2020. This represent 17 percent higher than the ten-year average of $66.5bn, according to Willis Re.

It is the fourth-highest total based on Willis Re numbers since 2011, and comes despite limited impact from the most active North American hurricane season on record, with 30 named storms.

Willis Re’s figures compare with Munich Re’s $82bnestimate, and Swiss Re’s preliminary nat cat loss estimate of $76bn Swiss Re’s has given a combined insurance cost of $83bn for nat cat and manmade disasters in 2020, up 10% on the ten-year average.

According to Aon, global insured natural catastrophe losses reached $97bn in 2020 and were $10bn higher than the ten-year average.

Willis Re said multiple hurricanes and tropical cyclones “skirted” major built-up areas last year. Hurricane Laura caused the most insured damage at $8bn to $9bn, according to the reinsurance broker.

Last year’s losses compare to $53bn in 2019, $80.5bn in 2018 and $143bn in 2017, according to Willis Re.

In Europe, windstorm Ciara – also known as Sabine – impacted more than ten countries, producing nearly $2bn of losses along with storms Ines, Dennis and Jorge in a two-week period, said Willis Re.

Tropical Cyclone Haishen caused less than $1bn of insured losses in Asia. Willis Re said this is well below losses caused by similar storms during 2019’s cyclone season.

The largest event of 2020 to hit Latin America and the Caribbean was Hurricane Iota in November, with an estimated economic loss of about $1.3bn, but much lower insured costs.

Yingzhen Chuang, regional director of catastrophe analytics at Willis Re International, said: “Natural catastrophe losses were high in 2020 but things could have been worse, given the number of storms which formed around the world. Fortunately, despite an active Atlantic hurricane season, landfalls were limited. While losses in Europe were modest, we did see a number of earthquake events as a reminder of the seismically active nature of southern Europe, as well as severe flooding from windstorms and hailstorm activity. During a year when Covid-19 dominated catastrophe loss discussions, there were nevertheless a series of smaller but impactful natural catastrophe events.”

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